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ÂtJ'1'HOB'S PBEFAOEa-I. To the Fir8
II. To the Second Edition, . 








ClUPTn L-Oommoditiel, . 
Section I.-The two Factors of a Commodity: Use Value and Value (the 
Subatance of Value and the Magnitude of Value), . 
Section 2.-The Twofold Character of the Labour embodied in Oommoditieø, 
.-Th. Form of Value, or Exchange Value, 
Ä. Elementary or Accident&! Form of Value, 
1. The two Poles of the EXpreBiioD of Value: Relative Form and 
Equi..a.lent Form, 
2. The Relati..e Form of Value, 
(a.) The Nature and Import of this Form, 
(b.) Quantita.tive Determination of Relative Value, 
8. The Equivalent Form of Value, 
.. The Elementary Form of Value considered ILl a Whole, 
B. Total or Expanded Form of Value, 
1. The Expanded Relative Form of Value, 
2. The Particular Equivalent Form, 
8. Defects of the To",l or Expanded Form of Value, 
O. The General Form of Value, 
1. The altered Ohara.cter of the Form of Valne, . 
2. The interdependent Development of the Relative FGrm of Value, 
and of the Equivalent Form, 
3. Transition from the General Form to the Money Form, 
D. The 1\Ioney Form, 
Section 4.-The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret thereof, . 
CHAPTBB II.-Exchange, . 
Ioney, or the Circulation of Oommodities, . 
Section 1. - The 
Ieasure of Value, . 
Section 2.-The Medium of Circulation, . 
a. The Metamorphosis of Oommoditiea, . 
b. The Ourrency of Money, . 
c. <Join, and symbols of Value,. . . 
eecQon 3.-M:OI1ey, . 
G. Hoarding, . 
b. Means of Payment, . 
e. Uaiversal Money, 






CHAPTER IV.-The General Formula for Capital, 
.(JHAPTEB V.-Contradictiona in the General Formula. of Capita4 . 
.cHAPTER VI. -The Buying and Selling of Labour-Power. 

















CHAPTER YII.-The Labour Prooess and the Prooess of produoing Surplus- 

&Jue, 156 
Section I.-The Labour Prooess or the Production of Use-Value, 156 
Section 2.-The Produotion of Surplus-Value, 166 
O1IA.PrKR VIII.-Constant Capital and Variable Capital, 180' 
CHAPl'EB IX.-The Rate of Surplus-Value, 194 
Section L-The Degree of Exploitation of Labour-Power, 194 
Section 2.-The Representation of the Components of the Va.lue of the Pro- 
duct by corresponding proportiona.l Pads of the Product itself, 203 
Section 3.-Senior's "Last Hour," 207 
Section 4.-Surpluf:l-Produce, 213- 
ÜHAPTER X.-The Working-Day, 214 
Section I.-The Limits of the 'Vorking-Day, 214 
Section 2.-The Greed for Surplus-Labour. Manufaoturer and Boyard, 218 
Seotion S.-Bra.nches of English Industry without Legal Limits to Exploita- 
tion, 221 
Seotion 4.-Day and Night Work_ The Relay System, 241 
Section 5.-The Struggle for a Normal Working-Day. Compuhlory Laws for 
the Extension of the 'V orking- Day from the Middle of the 14th to the 
End of the 17th Oentury, 249 
Section 6.-The Struggle for a Normal'Vorking-Day. Compulsory limita- 
tion by Law of the Working-Time. The English Factory Acts, 1833 to 
1864, 263 
Section 7.-The Struggle for a Normal Working-Day. Re-aotion of the 
h Factory Aots on Other Countries, 284 
CHAPl'ER XI.-Raie and :Mass of Surplus-Value, 289 


CHAPTER XIL-The Oonoept of Relative Surplus-Value, . 
CHAPTER XIII.-CO-Operation, 
CHAPTER XIV.-Division of Labour and Manufa.oture, 
Section I.-Twofold Origin of Manufaoture, 
Section 2.-The Detail Labourer and his Implements, 
Section S.-The two Fundamental Forms of Manufaoture: Heterogeneou8 
Manufacture, Serial Manufacture, 
Seotion 4.-Division of Labour in l\fanufacture, and Division of Labour in 
Section 5.-The Capital.iJtio Character of l\Ianufacture, 


OHAPrEB XV.-Machinery and Modern Industry, 
Section L-The Development of Machinery, . 

 2.-"The Value transferred by l\Iachinery to the Product, . 








Contents. VlI 

Section S.-The Proximate Effects of Machinery on the 'Vorkman, 391 
G. Appropriation of Supplementary Labour-Power by Capital 
The Employment of 'Vomen and Children. 891 
b. Prolongation of the 'Vorking-Day, 400 
c. Intensification of Labour, 4fYl 
Section 4.-The Factory, 418 
Section 5.-The Strife between 'Vorkman and Machinery, 421 
Section B.-The Theory of Compensation as regards the W orkpeople dis- 
placed by Machinery, . 438 
Section 7.-Repulsion and Attraction of Workpeople by the Factory SY!!Item. 
Crises of. the Cotton Trade, 449 
Section B.-Revolution effected in Manufacture, Handicrafts, and Domestio 
Indu!!ltry by :Modern Industry, . 462 
a. Overthrow of Co-Operation baaed on Handicraft and on Divi- 
sion of Labour, 462 
b. Re-action of the Factory Sjstem on :ßlanufacture 8.r.",1 Domes- 
tic Industries, 464 
c. Modern l\lanufacture, . 466 
d. :Modern Domestic Industry, 469 
t. Passage of Modern Manufacture and Dome!!ltic Industry into 
Moùern Mechanical Industry. The Hastening of this Re- 
volution by the Application of the Factory Acta to those In- 
dustries, 474 
Section 9.-The Factory Acts. Sanitary and Eùuctiona.l Clauses of the 
Their general Extension in England, 4.85 
Section 10.-Modern Industry and Agriculture, 512 
CHAPTER XVI.-Absolute and Relative S1:lrplus-Value, 
CHAPTER XVII.-Changes of :Magnitude in the Price of Labour-Power and in 
Surplus-Value, . 
I. Length of the 'V orking Day and Intensity of Labour constant. Pro- 
ductiveness of Labour variable, 
II. Working Day constant. Productiveness of Labour constant. In- 
tensity of Labour variable, 
UI.-Productiveness and Intensity of Labour constant. Length of the 
Working Day variable, 
IV. Simultaneous Variations in the Duration, Productiveness, and In- 
tensity of Labour, 
(1.) Diminishing Productiveness of Labour with a lIimultaneous 
Lengthening of the 'V orking Day, 
(2.) In"reasing Intensity and Productiveness of Labour with simul- 
taneous Shortening of the Working Day, 
CHAPTER XVIII.-Various Formulæ for the Rate of Surplus-Value, 









CHAPTER XIX.-TheTransformationof the Value (and respectivel;}" the Price) 
of Labour-Power into Wages, 
OHAPTER xx.-Time-"\Vages, 
OHAPTER XXI. - Piece-"\V ages, 
OHAPT&B XXII.-Nation:\l Differences of Wages, 









CHAPTER XXIU.-Simple Reproduction, 
CHAP1'ER XXIV.-oonvemon of Surpl.s-Value Into Oapital, 
Section l.-oapitalist Production on a progressively inoreasing Soale. Tranal- 
tion of the Laws of Property that charaoteriøe Produotion of Oom- 
modities into Laws of Oapita.list Appropria.tion, . . . 
Section 2.-Erroneous Conception, by Political Economy, of Reproduction 
on a progressively increasing Scale, 
Section 3.-Separation of Surplus-Value into Oa.pital and Revenue. Tbe 
Abstinence Theory, 
Section 4.-Circumstances that, independently of the proportional Division 
of Surplus-Value into Oapital a.nd Revenue, determine the 
Amount of Accumulation. Degree of Exploitation of Labour- 
Power. Productivity of Labour. Growing Difference in Amoun, 
between Capital employed and Capital consumed. :Magnitude 
of Oapital advanced, 
Section 5.-The so-called Labour Fund, 
CHAPTER XXV.-The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation, 
Section 1. - The increased Demand for Labour- Power that acoompaniea 
.A.coumulation, the Composition of Capital remaining the lame, 
Section 2.-Relative Diminution of the Variable Part of Capita.l simul- 
taneously with the Progress of Accumulation and of the Ooncen- 
tration that aocompanies it, 
Section 3.-Progressive Production of a Relative Surplus-Population, or 
Industrial Reserve Army, 
Section 4.-DifferentForms of the Relative Surplus-Population. The General 
Law of Oapitalistic Accumulation, . 
Section 5.-lllustrations of the General Law of Capitalist Acoumulation, 
a. Engla.nd from 1846 to 1866, 
b. The badly paid Strata of the Britiah Industrial Olass 
c. The Nomad Population, 
d. Effect of Crises on the best paid Part of the Working Clasl, 
e. The British Agricultural Proletariat, 
j. Ireland, 


CHAPTD XXVI.-The Secret of Primitive Accumulation, '136 
CHAPTER XXVIL-Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the 
Land, 140 
CHAPTER XXVIIL Bloody Legislation against the Expropriated from t-he 
End of the 15th Century. Forcing down of Wagca by Acts of 
Parliament, 158 
OHAPTER XXIX.-Genesis of the Capitalist Farmer, 166 
CHAPTER XXX.-Reaction of the Acoricultura.l Revolution on Industry. Crea- 
tion of the Home Market for Industrial Capital, 169 
OHAPTER XXXI.-GenesÏi of the Industrial Capita.list,.. 114 
OHAPTER XXXIl.-Historical Tendency of Capitalistic Accumulation, 186 
CHAPTER XXXIlI.-The Modern Theory of Colonization, 190 
Works and Authors quoted in "Capital." 801 













T HE publication of an English version of cC Das 
I{apital " needs no apology. On the contrary, an 
explanation might be expected why this English version 
has been delayed until now, seeing that for some years past 
the theorie3 advocated in this book have been constantly 
referred to, attacked and defended, interpreted and mis- 
interpreted, in the periodical press and the current 
literature of both England and America. 
'V4en, soon after the author's death in 1883, it be- 
canle evident that an English edition of the ,york ,vas 
really required, Mr. SalTIuel Moore, for many years a 
friend of l\larx and of the present writer, and than 
whom, perhaps, no one is more conversant with the 
book itself: consented to undertake the translation '\vhich 
the literary executors of 
Iarx were anxious to lay be- 
fore the public. It was understood that I should com- 
pare the ?tIS. with the original work, and suggest such 
alterations as I might deem advisable. When, by and 
by, it was found that Mr. Moore's professional occupa- 
tions prevented him from finishing the trallslation as 
quickly as we all desired, we gladly accepted Dr. Aveling's 
offer to undertake a portion of the work; at the same 
time Mrs. Aveling, Marx's youngest daughter, offered to 
check the quotations and to restore the original text of 


h"dztor s Preface. 

the nUmerous passages taken from English authors and 
Bluebooks and translated by Marx into German. This 
has been done throughout, with but a few unavoidable 
The following portions of the book have been trans- 
lated by Dr. Aveling: (1) Chapters X. (The Working 
Day), and XI. (Rate and Mass of Surplus-Value); (2) 
Part VI. ('Vages, comprising Chapters XIX. to XXII.); 
(3) from. Chapter XXIV, Sectiøn 4 (Circumstances that 
&c.) to the end of the book, comprising the latter part 
of Chapter XXIV., Chapter XXV., and the whole of 
Part VIII. (Chapters XXVI, to XXXIII.); (4) the two 
Author's prefaces. All the rest of the book has been 
done by l\'lr. Moore. 'Vhile, thus, each of the trans- 
lators is responsible for his share of the work only, I 
bear a joint responsibility for the whole. 
The third German edition, which has been made 
the basis of our work throughout, ,vas prepared by 
me, in 1883, with the assistance of notes left by the 
author, indicating the passages of the second edition 
to be replaced by designated passages, from the 
French text published in 1873. 1 The alterations thus 
effected in the text of the second edition generally coin- 
cided with changes prescribed by Marx in a set of MS. 
instructions for an English translation that was planned, 
about ten years ago, in America, but abandoned chiefly for 
want of a fit and proper translator. This MS. was placed 
at our disposal by our old friend Mr. F. A. Sorge of 
Hoboken N.J. It designates SOllIe further interpolations 
from the French edition; but, being so many years older 

1 "Le Capital," par Karl Marx. Traduction de M. J. Roy, entière- 
ment revisée par !'auteur. Paris. Lachâtre. " This translation, especially in 
the latter part of the book, contains considerable alterations in and additions 
to the text of the second German edition. 


Editor's Preface. 



than the final instructions for the third edition, I did not 
consider myself at liberty to make use of it otherwise 
than sparingly, and chiefly in cases where it helped us 
over difficulties. In the same way, the French text has 
been referred to in most of the difficult passages, as an 
indicator of what the author himself was prepared to . 
sacrifice wherever something of the full import of the 
original had to be sacrificed in the rendering. 
There is, ho,vever, one difficulty ,ve could not spare 
the reaùer: the use of certain terms in a sense different 
from ,vhat they have, not only in common life, but in 
ordinary political economy. But this was unavoidable. 
Every ne,v aspect of a science involves a revolution in 
the technical terms of that science. This is best sho"\Vll by 
chemistry, ,vhere the whole of the terminology is radically 
changed about once in twenty years, and where you will 
hardly find a single organic compound that has not gone 
through a whole series of different names. Political 
Economy has generally been content to take, just as they 
were, the tern1S of comlnercial and industrial life, and to 
operate ,vith them, entirely failing to see that by so doing, 
it confined itself ,vithin the narrow circle of ideas 
expressed by those terms. Thus, though perfectly aware 
that both profits and rent are but sub-divisions, frag- 
ments of that unpaid part of the product which the 
labourer has to supply to his eTnployer (its first appro- 
priator, though not its ultimate exclusive owner), yet 
even classical Political Economy never went beyond 
the received notions of profits and rent, never examined 
this unpaid part of the product (called by Marx surplus- 
product) in its integrity as a whole, and tnerefore never 
arrived at a clear comprehension, either of its origin and 
nature, or of the laws that regulate the subsequent distri- 
bution of its value. Similarly all industry, not agricultural 


Editor's Preface. 

or handicraft, is indiscriminately comprised in the term of 
manufacture, and thereby the distinction is obliterated be- 
tween two great and essentially different periods of econ- 
omic history: the period of manufacture proper, based oa. 
the division of manual labour, and the period of modern 
industry based on machinery. It is, however, self-evi- 
dent that a theory which views modern capitalist pro- 
duction as a mere passing stage in the economic history 
of mankind, must make use of terms different froTu those 
habitual to writers who look upon that form of produc- 
tion as imperishable and final. 
A word respecting the author's method of quoting 
may not be out of place. In the majority of cases, the 
quotations serve, in the usual way, as documentary evi- 
dence in support of assertions made in the text. Butin many 
instances, passages from economic writers are quoted in 
order to indicate when, where, and by whom a certain 
proposition was for the first time clearly enunciated. 
This is done in cases where the proposition quoted is of im- 
portance as being a more or less adequate expression of the 
conditions of social production and exchange prevalent 
at the time, and quite irrespective of 
farx's recognition, 
or other,vise, of its general validity. These quotations, 
therefore, supplement the text by a running comlnelltary 
taken from the history of the science. 
Our translation comprises the first book of the work 
only. But this first book is in a great measure a whole 
in itself, and has for twenty years ranked as an inde- 
pendent work. The second book, edited in Gernlan 
by me, in 1885, is decidedly incomplete ,vithout the third, 
which cannot be published before the end of 1887. 
When Book III. has been brought out in the original 
Gennan, it will then be soon enougp. to think abou
preparjng an English edition of both. 

Editor's Preface. 


.. Das Kapital tJ is often called, on the Continent, 
" the Bible of the working class. J' That the conclusions 
arrived at in this wor
 are daily more and more becoming 
the fundamental principles of the great working class 
movement, not only in Germany and Switzerland, but in 
France, in Holland and Belgium, in America, and even 
in Italy and Spain; that everywhere tbe working class 
more and 
ore recognises, in these conclusions, the most 
adequate expression of its condition and of its aspirations, 
nt>body acquainted with that movement will deny. 
And in England, too, the theories of 
larx, even at this 
mornent, exercise a po,verful influence upon the socialist 
movement which is spreading in the ranks of " cultured" 
people no less than in those of the working class. But 
that is not all. The time is rapidly approaching when 
a thorough examination of England's economic position 
will impose itself as an irresistible national necessiiy. The 
working of the ind ustrial system of this country, impos- 
sible \vithout a constant and rapid extension of pro- 
duction, and therefore of markets, is coming to a dead 
stop. Free ti'ade has exhausted itd resources; even 

lanchester doubts this its quondam economic gospel. 1 
Foreign industry, rapidly developing, stares English pro- 
duction in the face everywhere, not only in protected, but 
also in neutral markets, and even on this side of the 
Channel. While the productive power increases in a 
geometric, the extension of markets proceeds at best in 
an arithmetic ratio. The decennial cycle of stagnation, 

1 At the quarterly meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, 
held this afternoon, a warm discussion took place on the subject of Free 
Trade. A resolution was moved to the effect that "having waited in vain 
40 years for other nations to follow the Free Trade example of Englan
this Chamber thinks the time has now arrived to reconsi.der that poeition." 
The resolution W8.8 rejected by a majority of one only, the figures being 
21 fer, and 22 against.-Ewfling Stctndard, Nov. 1. 1886. 


Edito-ls Priface. 

prosperity, over-production and crisis, ever recurrent 
froIn 1825 to 1867, seelI1S indeed to have run its course; 
but only to land us in t11e slough of despond of a per- 
manent and chronic depression. The sighed-for period 
of prosperity ,vill not come; as often as we seem to per- 
ceive its heralding sYlnptoms, so often do they again 
vanish into air. l\leanwhile, each succeeding winter brings 
up afresh the great question, "what to do with the 
unemployed;" but while the number of the unemployed 
keeps s,velling from year to year, there is nobody to 
ans"\ver that question; and we can almost calculate the 
nloment ,vhen the unemployed losing patience. will 
take their o,vn fate into their own hands. Surely, at such 
a moment, the voice ought to be heard of a man whose 
whole theory is the result of a life-long study of the 
economic history and condition of England, and whom 
that study led to the conclusion that, at least in Europe, 
England is the only country where the inevitable social 
revolution might be effected entirely by peaceful and 
legal means. He certainly never forgot to add that he 
hardly expected the English ruling classes to submit, 
without a "pro-slavery rebellion," to this peaceful and 
legal revolution. 


November 5, 1886. 




T HE work, the first volume of which I now submit 
to the public, forms the continuation of my " Zur 
l(ritik der Politischen Oekonomie" (A contribution to 
the criticisIll of Political Economy) published in 1859. 
The long pause between the first part and the continu.. 
ation is due to an illness of many years' duration that 
again and again interrupted my work. 
The substance of that earlier work is summarised in 
the first three chapters of this volume. This is done 
not merely for the sake of connection and completeness. 
The presentation of the subject-matter is improved. As 
far as circumstances in any way permit, many points 
only hinted at in the earlier book are here worked out 
more fully, ,vhilst, conversely, points worked out fully 
there are only touched upon in this volume. The 
sections on the history of the theories of value and of 
money are now, of course, left out altogether. The 
reader of the earlier work will find, however, in the 
note8 to the first chapter additional sources of reference 
relative to the history of those theúl'le
Every beginning is difficult, holds in all sciences. To 
understand the first chapter, especially the section that 
contains the analysis of commodities, will, therefore, pre- 
sent the greatest difficulty. That which concerns more 

xvi Author's Prefaces. 
especially the analysis of the substance of value and the 
magnitude of value, I have, as much as it was possible, 
popularised. 1 The value-fq,rm, whose fully developed 
shape is the money form, iB very elementary and simple. 
Nevertheless, the human mind has for more than 2000 
years sought in vain to get to the bottom of it, whilst on 
the other hand, to tlte 
uccessful analysis of much more 
composite and complex forms, there has been at least an 
approximation. Why? Because the body, as an organic 
whole, is more easy of study than are the cells of that 
b6dy. In the analysis of economic forms, moreover, 
neither micrescopes nor chelnical reagents are of use. 
The force of abstraction must replace both. But in 
bourgeois s@ciety the Jommodity-form of the product of 
labour-or the value-form of the commodity-is the 
economic cell-form. To the superficial observer. the 
analysis of these forme seems to turn upon mln-atiæ. It 
does in fact deal with minutiæ, but they are of the same 
orger as those dealt with in microscopic anatomy. 
With the exception of the section on value-form, 
therefore, this volume cannot stand accused on the score 
of difficulty. I pre-suppose, of course, a reader who is 
willing to learn something new and therefore to think 
for himself. 
The physicist either observes physical ph

1 This is the more necessary, as even the section of Ferdinand Lassalle's 
work against Schulze-Delitzsch, in which he professes to give "the intel- 
lectual quintessence" of my expla.nations on these subjects, contains im- 
portant mistakes. If Ferdinand Lassalle has borrowed almost literally 
from my writings, and without any acknowledgmeIit, all the general 
theoretical propositi<. 'As in his economic works, e. g., tho:ie on the historical 
character of ca.pital, on the connection between the conditions of produc- 
tion and the mode of production, &c., &c. even to the terminology created 
by me, this may perhap3 be due to purposes of propaganda. I am here, 
of oourse, not speaking of his detailed working out and application of these 
08itious, with which I have nothing to do. 

Author's Prefaces. 


where they occur in their most typical form and most 
free from disturbing influence, or, ,vherever possible, he 
makes e Kperirnents under conditions that assure the 
occurrence of the phenomenon in its norInality. In this 
,vork I have to examine the capitalist mode of produc- 
tion, and the conditions of proù uction and exchange cor.. 
responding to that mode. Up to the present time, their 
classic ground is England. That is the reason why Eng- 
land is used as the chief illustration in the development 
of my theoretical ideas. It: however, the German reader 
shrugs his shoulders at the condition of the English in- 
dustrial and agricultural labourers, or in optiInist fashion 
comforts hilllself with the thought that in Gerrnany 
things are not nearly so bad; I must plainly tell him, 
H De te fabula naJ'ratur I " 
Intrinsical1y, it is not a question of the higher or 
lower degree of development of the social antagonisms 
that result from the natural laws of capitalist production. 
It is a question of these laws themselves, of these 
tendencies ,vorking with iron necessity towards inevit- 
able results. The country that is more developed inàus- 
trially only shows, to the less developed, the image of 
its own future. 
But apart from this9 Where capitalist production is 
fully naturalised arnong the Germans (for instance, in the 
factories proper) the condition of things is much worse 
than in England, because the counterpoise of the Factory 
Acts is ,vanting. In all other spheres, we, like all the 
rest of Continental Western Europe, suffer not only from 
the development of capitalist production, but also from 
the incolnpleteness of that development. Alongside of 
modern evils, a whole series of inherited evils oppress 
us, arising from the passive survival of antiquated modes 
of production, with their inevitable train of social and 


A uthoy's p,yefaces. 

political anachronisms. We suffer not only from the 
living, but from the dead. Le mQrt saisit le vii I 
The social statistics of Germany and the rest of Con- 
tinental Western Europe are, in cOInparison with those 
of England, wretchedly compiled. But they raise the 
veil just enough to let us catch a glilnpse of the Medusa 
head behind it. We should be appalled at the state of 
things at home, if, as in England, our gúvernments and 
parlialnents appointed periodically commissions of en- 
quiry into economic conditions; if these commissions were 
arlned with the same plenary powers to get at the truth; 
ifit was possible to find for this purpose men as competent, 
as free from partisanship and respect of persons as are 
the English factory-inspectors, her medical reporters 
on public health, her commissioners of enquiry into the 
exploitation of women and children, into housing and 
food. Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters 
he hunted down might not see him. We draw the 
magic cap down over eyes and ears as a make-believe 
that there are no monsters. 
Let us not deceive ourselves on this. As in the 18th 
century, the American war of independence sounded the 
tocsin for the European middle-class, so in the 19th century, 
the American civil war sounded it for the European 
,vorking-class. In England the progress of social dis- 
integration is palpable. \Vhen it has reached a certain 
point, it must re-act on the continent. There it will take 
a form more brutal or more humane, according to the 
degree of developtuent of the working-class itself. Apart 
from higher motives, therefore, their own most impor- 
tant interests dictate to the classes that are for the 
nonce the ruling ones, the removal of all legally remov- 
able hindrances to the free development of the working 
class. For this reason, as well as others, I have given 

Author's Prefaces. 


80 large a space in this volulne to the history, the de- 
tails, and the results of English factory legislation. One 
nation can and should learn from others. And even 
when a society has got upon the right track for the dis- 
covery of the naturalla ws of its movement-and it is the 
ultim.ate aim of this work, to lay hare the economic law 
of motioo of modern society-it can neither clear by 
bold leaps, nor relllove by legal enactments, the obstacles 
offered by the successive phases of its normal develop- 
ment. But it can shorten and lessen the birth-pangs. 
To prevent possible misunderstanding, a ,vord. I 
paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur 
de rose. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far 
as they are the personifications of econon1Ïc categories, 
embodimel1t$ of particular class-relations and class- 
interests. }\iy stand-point, from which the evolution of 
the economic formation of society is vipwed aB a process 
of natural history, can less than any other make the 
individual responsible for relations whose creature he 
socially renlains, however much he may subjectively 
raise himself above them. 
I n the domain of Political Economy, free scientific 
enquiry meets not merely the same enemies as in all 
other domains. The peculiar nature of the material it 
deals with, summons as foes into the field of battle the 
most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human 
breast, the Furies of private interest. The English Estab- 
lished Church, e.g., will more readily pardon an attack 
on 38 of its 39 articles than on 
 of its income. Now- 
a.days atheism itself is culpa levis, as compared with 
criticisln of existing property relations. Nevertheless, 
there is an unmistakable advance. I refer, e.g., to the 
bluebook published within the last few weeks: "Corre- 
sDondence with Her 
lissions Abroad, regard. 


Author's Prefaces. 

ing îndustrial Questions and Trades' Unions." The 
representatives of the English Crown in foreign countries 
there declare in so many words that in Germany, in 
France, to be brief: in all the civiUsed states of the 
European continent, a radical change in the existing 
relations between capital and labour is as evident and 
inevitable as in England. A"t the same time, on the 
other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Wade, vice-presi- 
dent of the United States, declared in public meetings 
that, after the abolition of slavery, a radical change of 
the relations of capital and of property in land is next 
upon the order of the day. These are signs of the 
tinles, not to be hidden by purple mantles or black 
cassocks. They do not signify that to-morrow a miracle 
will happen. They show that, within the ruling-classes 
themselves, a foreboding is dawning, that the present 
society is no solid crystal, but an organism capable of 
change, and is constantly changing. 
The second volume of this work will treat of the pro- 
cess of the circulation of capital l (Book II.), and of the 
varied forms assumed by capital in the course of its 
developrnent (Book III.), the third and last volurne- 
(Book IV.), the history of the theory. 
Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome.. 
As to the prejudices of so-called public opinion, to which 
I have never made concessions, now as aforetin1e the 
maxim of the great Florentine is mine: 
" Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir Ie genti." 


LONDON, July 25, 1867. 

1 On p. 676 the author explains what he comprises under this hCM.d 

Author's Prefaces. 



To the present mODlent Political Economy, in Ger- 
ß1any, is a foreign science. Gu
tav von Gülich in his 
" Historical description of Comnlerce, Industry," &c., 1 
especially in the t\VO first volullles published in 1830, 
has exalnilled at length the historical circumstances that 
prevented, in Germany, the development of the capitalist 
mode of production, and consequently the developulent, 
in that country, of modern bourgeois society. Thus the 
Boil \vhence Political Econolny springs was \vanting. 
This "science" had to be imported from England and 
France as a ready-made article; its German professors 
remained schoolboys. The theoretical expression of a 
foreign reality ,vas turned, in their hands, into a col- 
lection of dogn)3,s, interpreted by them in terms of the 
petty trading ,vorld around them, and therefore mis- 
interpreted. The feeling of scientific impotence, a 
feeling not \vholly to be repressed, and the uneasy con- 
sciousness of having to touch a subject in reality foreign 
to them, was but imperfectly concealed, either under a 
parade of literary and historical erudition, or by an 
admixture of extraneous material, borrowed from the so- 
called "I(alneral" sciences, a medley of smatterings, 
through whose purgatory the hopeless candidate for the 
Gernlan bureaucracy has to pass. 
Since 1848 capitalist production has developed rapidly 
in Germany, and at the present time it is in the full 
bloom of speculation and s\vindling. But fate is still 
unpropitious to our pr0fessional economists. At the 
time ,vhen they were able to deal with Political Economy 
in a straightfor\vard fashion, modern economic condition

, Geschichtliche Darstellung des Handels, der Gewerbe und des Acker- 
baus, &c., von Gustav yon Gillich. 6 vols., Jena, 1830-45. 


AuthlJY's Prefaces. 

did not actually exist in Germany. And as soon as these 
conditions did come into existence, they did so under cir- 
cumstances that no longer allowed of their being really 
and impartially investigated within the bounds of the 
bourgeois horizon. In so far as Political Economy 
remains within that horizon, in so far, i.e., as the capita- 
list régime is looked upon as the absolutely final form of 
social production, instead of as a passing historical phase 
of its evoluiion, Political Economy can remain a science 
only so long as the class-struggle is latent or manifests 
itself only in isolated and sporadic phenornena. 
Let us take England. Its political econorny belongs 
to the period in which the class-struggle was as yet un- 
developed. I ts last great representative, Ricardo, in 
the end, consciously makes the antagonisnl of cJass- 
interests, of wages and profits, of profits and rent, the 
starting-point of his investigations, naïvely taking this 
antagonism for a social law of nature. But by this 
start the science of bourgeois economy had reached the 
limits beyond which it could not pass. Already in the 
lifetime of Ricardo, and in opposition to him, it was met 
by criticism, in the person of Sismondi. 1 
'The succeeding period, from 1820 to 1830, was 
notable in England for scientific activity in the dómain 
of Political Economy. It was the time as well of the 
vulgarising and extending of Ricardo's theory, as of the 
contest of that theory with the old school. Splendid 
tournaments were held. What was done then, is little 
known to the Continent generally, because the polemic 
is for the most part scattered through articles in reviews, 
occasional literature and pamphlets. Tbe unprejudiced 
character of this polemic-although the theory of 

 See my wOl'k " Zur I{ritik, &c.," p. 39. 

Author's Prefaces. 


icardo already serves, in exceptional cases, as a weapon 
of attack upon bourgeois economy-is explained by the 
circurl1stances of the time. On the one hand, lnodern 
industry itself ,vas only just emerging from the age of 
childhood, as is shown by the fact that with the crisis 
of 1825 it for the first time opens the periodic cycle of 
its modern life. On the other hand, the class-struggle 
bet,veen capital and labour is forced into the background, 
political]y by the discord bet\veen the govefluuents and 
the fcudal aristocracy gathered around the Holy Alliance 
on the one hand, and the popular mas;:;es, led by the bour- 
geoisie on the other ; economically by the quarrel between 
industrial capital and aristocratic landed property-a 
quarrel that in France ,vas concealed by the opposition 
between small and large landed property, and that 
in England broke out openly after the Corn Laws. The 
literature of Political Economy in England at this time 
calls to mind the stormy forward movernent in France 
after Dr. Quesnay's death, but only as a Saint .i\Iartin's 
surnlner reminds us of spring. With the year 1830 
carne the decisive crisis. 
r n France and in England the bourgeoisie had con- 
quered politiqal po\ver. 'fhenceforth, the class-struggle, 
practically as ,veIl as theoretically, took on more and 
111üre outspoken and threatening forlns. It sounded the 
knell of scientific bourgeois economy. It was thenceforth 
no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was 
true, but ,vhether it was useful to capital or harmful, 
expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. 
In place of disinterested enquirers, there were hired prize- 
fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad 
conscience and the evil intent of apologetic. Still, even 
the obtrusive pamphlets with which the Anti-Corn Law 
League, led by the manufacturers Cobden and Bright J 


Author's Prefaces. 

deluged the world, have a historic interest, if no scientific 
one, on account of their polemic against the landed aris- 
tocracy. But since then the Free Trade legislation, 
inaugurated by Sir Robert Peel, has deprived vulgar 
economy of this its last sting. 
The Continental revolution of 1848-9 also had its re- 
action in England. Men who still claimed some scien- 
tific standing and aspired to be something more than 
nlere sophists and sycophants of the ruling-classes, tried 
to harmonise the Political Economy of capital with the 
claims, no longer to be ignored, of the proletariat. 
Hence a shallow syncretism, of which John Stuart l\Iill 
is the best representative. It is a declaration of bank- 
ruptcy by bourgeois econolny, an event on which the 
great Russian scholar and critic, N. Tschernyschewsky, 
has thrown the light of a master mind in his " Outlines 
of Political Economy according to Mill." 
In Gerluany, therefore, the capitalist Inode of produc- 
tion came to a head, after its antagonistic character had 
already, in France and England, shown itself in a fierce 
strife of classes. And ll1ean while, moreover, the German 
proletariat had attained a much Inore clear class-con- 
sciousness than the German bourgeoisie. Thus, at the 
very moment when a bourgeois science of political 
economy seemed at last possible in Germany, it had in 
reality again become ÏInpossible. 
Under these circumstances its professors fell into two 
groups. The One set, prudent, practical business folk, 
flocked to the banner of Bastiat, the most superficial 
and therefore the most adequate representative of the 
apologetic of vulgar economy; the other, proud of the 
professorial dignity of their science, follo,vcd John 
Stuart 1Iill in his attempt to reconcile irreconcilables. 
Just as in the classical time of bourgeois economy, so 

Author's Prefaces. 
also in the tÜne of its decline, the Germans remained 
mere schoolboys, imitators and followers, petty retailers 
and ha\vkers in the service of the great foreign whole- 
Ðale concern. 
'1'he peculiar historic developIuent of German society 
therefore forbids, in that country, all original work in 
bourgeois economy; but not the criticism of that 
economy. So far as such criticism represents a class, it 
can only represent the class vV hose vocation in history 
is the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production 
and the final abolition of all classes-the proletariat. 
The learned and unlearned spokesmen of the German 
bourgeoisie tried at first to kill " Das Kapital " by silence, 
as they had managed to do with my earlier ,vritings. As 
soon as they found that these tactics no longer fitted in 
with the conditions of the time, they wrote, under pretence 
of criticising my book, prescriptions" for the tranquillisa- 
tion of the bourgeois mind." But they found in the 
workers' press-see, e.g., Joseph Dietzgen's articles in 
the" V olksstaat "-antagonists stronger than themselves, 
to whom (do\vn to this very day) they owe a reply.1 
An excellent Russian translation of " Das Kapital" ap- 


1 The mealy-mouthed babblers of German vulgar economy fell foul of 
the style of my book. Noone can feel the literary shortcomings in " Das 
Kapital " more strongly than I myself. Yet I will for the benefit and the 
enjoyment of these gentlemen and their public quote iT} this connection 
one English and one Russian notice. The" Saturday Review," always 
hûstile to my views, said in its notice of the first edition: "The presenta- 
tion of the subject invests the driest economic questions with a certain 
peculiar charm." The" St. Petersburg Journal JJ (Sankt-Peterburgskie 
Yiedomosti), in its issue of April 20, 1872, says: ., The presentation of 
the subject, with the exception of one or two exceptionally special parts, 
is distinguished by its comprehensibility by the general reader, its clear- 
ness, and, in spite of the scientific intricacy of the subject, by an unusual 
liveliness. In this respect the author in no way resembles . . . the 
majority of German schulars who. . . write their books in a language so 
dry and obscure that the heads of ordinary mortals are cracked "by it." 


AuthlJr's Prefaces. 

peared in the spring of 1872. The edition of 3000 
copies is already nearly exhausted. As early as 1871, 
A. Sieber, Professor of Political Economy in the Univer- 
sity of I(iev, in his work "David Ricardo's Theory of 
Value and of Capital," referred to my theory of value, of 
money and of capital, as in its fundamentals a necessary 
sequel to the teaching of Smith and Ricardo. That 
which astonishes the Weetern European in the reading 
of this excellent work, is the author's consistent and firm 
grasp of the purely theoretical position. 
That the method employed in "Das Kapital " has 
been little understood, is shown by the various concep- 
tions, contradictory one to another, that have been 
formed of it. 
Thus the Paris Revue Posivlste reproaches me in that
on the one hand, I treat economics metaphysically, and 
on the other hand-imagine !-confine myself to the 
mere critical analysis of actual facts, instead of writing 
receipts (Comtist ones?) for the cook-shops of the future. 
In answer to the reproach in re metaphysics, Professor 
Sieber has it: "In 80 far as it deals with actual theory, 
the method of Marx is the deductive method of the 
whole English school, a school whose failings and virtues 
are common to the best theoretic economists." M. Block 
-" Les théoriciens du 80cialisme en Allcmagne, Extrait 
du Journal des Economistes, Juillet et Aoftt ]872 "- 
makes the discovery that my method is analytic and 
says: "Par cet ouvrage M. Marx se classe parmi les 
esprits analytiques les plus éminents." German reviews, 
of course, shriek out at "Hegelian sophistics. " The 
EU1'opean Messenger of St. Peterburg, in an article deal- 
ing exclu
ively with the method of "Das Kapital " 
(May number, 1872, pp. 427..436), finds my method of 
inquiry severely realistic, but my method of presentation, 

Authoy's Prefaces. 


unfortunately, Gcrnlan-dialectical. It says: "At first 
sight, if the juùgIuent is ba
ed on the external form of 
the presentation of the subj ect, 
Iarx is the most ideal 
of ideal philosophers, al\vays in the Gerlnan, i.e., the 
bad sense of the ,vord. But in point of fact he is 
infinitely more realistic than all his fore-runners in the 
work of economic criticism. He can in no sense be 
called an idealist." I cannot answer the writer better 
than by aid of a few extracts froIn his own criticism, 
\vhich may interest some of my readers to whom the 
Russian original is inaccessible. 
After a quotation from the preface to my " Criticism 
of Political Economy," Berlin, 1859, pp. 4-7, where I dis- 
cuss the materialistic basis of my method, the writer goes 
on: "The one thing which is of moment to 1\Iarx, is to 
find the law of the phenomena with whose investigation he 
is concerned; and not only is that law ofmament to him,' 
which governs these phenomena, in so far as they have 
a definite fornl and mutual connection within a given 
historical period. Of still greater moment to him is 
the law of their variation, of their development, i.e., of 
their transition from one fOríll Into another, from one 
series of connections into a different one. This law once 
discovered, he investigates in detail the effects in which 
it manifests itself in social life. Consequently, Marx 
only troubles himself about one thing; to show, by 
rigid scientific investigation, the necessity of successive 
determinate orders of social conditions, and to establish, 
a.s Îll1partially as possible, the facts that serve him for 
fundamental starting pointß. For this it is quite enough, 
if he proves, at the same time, both the necessity of 
the present order of things, and the necessity of another 
order into whic1} the first must inevitably pass over; 
and this all the same, whether men believe or do not 


Author's Prefaces. 

believe it., ,vhether they are conscious or unconscious of 
it. !larx treats the social movenlent as a proccs
of natural history, governed by laws not only indepen- 
dent of hUlnan will, consciousness and intelligence, but 
rather, on the contrary, deterlnining that will, conscious- 
ness and intelligence. . . . If in the history of civilisa.- 
tion the conscious element plays a part so subordinate, 
then it is self-evident that a critical inquiry ,vhose sub- 
ject-matter is civilisation, can, less than anything else, 
have for its basis any form of, or any result of, conscious- 
ness. That is to say, that not the idea, but the 
material phenomenon alone can serve as its starting- 
point. Such an inquiry will confine itself to the con- 
frontation and the comparison of a fact, not with ideas, 
but with another fact. For this inquiry, the one thing 
of moment is, that both facts be investigated as accur- 
atel y as possible, and that they actually form, each ,vith 
respect to the other, different momenta of an evolution; 
but most important of all is the rigid analysis of the 
series of successions, of the sequences and concatenations 
in which the different stages of such an evolution pre- 
sent therllselves. I3ut it will be said, the general laws 
of economic life are one and the same, no Illatter 
whether they are applied to the present or the past. 
This l\larx directly denies. According to him, such 
abstract laws do not exist. On the contrary, in his 
opinion every historical period has la,vs of 
ts O'Vl1. . . . 
 soon as society has outlived a given period of develop- 
ment) and is passin
 over from one given stage to another, 
it begins to be subject also to other laws. In a ,vord, 
economic life offers us a phenomenon analogous to the 
history of evolution in other branches of biology. The 
old economists misunderstood the nature of economic 
laws when they likened them to the la,vs of physics and 

Author's Prefaces. 


chemistry. A lnore thorough analysis of phenomena 
shows that social organisms differ among themselves as 
fundamentally as plants or animals. Nay, one and the 
same phenomenon falls under quite different laws in 
consequence of the different structure of those organisms 
as a whole, of the variations of their individual organs, 
of the different conditions in which those organs function, 
&c. l\Iarx, e.g., denies that the la,v of popula.tion is the 
same at all times and in all places. He asserts, on the 
contrary, that every stage of developrnent has its o\vn 
la,v of population. . . . With the varying degree of 
development of productive power, social conditions anù 
the la,vs governing them vary too. "Whilst Marx sets 
himself the task of following and explaining from this 
point of view the economic system established by the 
sway of capital, he is only formulating, in a strictly 
scientific manner, the aim that every accurate investiga- 
tion into economic life must have. The scientific value of 
such an inquiry lies in the disclosing of the special laws 
that regulate the origin, existence, development, death 
of a given social organism and its replacement by 
another and higher one. And it is this value that, in 
point of fact, 1tlarx's book has." 
Whilst the writer pictures what he takes to be 
actually my method, in this striking and [as far as con- 
cerns my own application of it] generous way, wbat 
else is he picturing but the dialectic n1ethod? 
Of course the method of presentation must differ in form 
from that of inquiry. The latter has to appropriate 
the material in detail, to analyse its different forms of 
development, to trace out their inner connection. Only 
after this work is done, can the actual movement be 
adequately described. If this is done successfully, if 
the life of the subject-Iuattcr is ideally reflected as in a 


A ulhor's Prefaces. 

mirror, then it may appear as if we had before us a 
nlere a priori construction. 
1\Iy dialectic method is not only different froIn the 
Hegeliam, but is its direct opposite. To IIegel, the 
life-process of the human brain, i.e., the proce3s of 
thinking, which, under the nalne of "the Idea," he 
even transforllls into an independent subject, is the 
demiurgos of the real ,vorld, and the real ,vorid is only 
the external, phenomenal form of "the Idea." With 
rne, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the 
material world reflected by the hUlnan mind, and trans- 
lated into fOrIllS of thought. 
The In ystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised 
nearly thirty y
ars ago, at a time when it was still the 
fashion. But Just as I was working at the first volume 
of "Da3 Kapital) 1, it was the good pleasure of the 
peevish, arrogant, Inediocre E1rí)'ovo& who now talk large 
in cultured Gerlnany, to treat Hegel in saIne way as 
the brave Moses 1tlendelssohn in Lessing's time treated 
Spinoza, i.e., as a "dead dog." I therefore openly 
avowed Inyself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and 
even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, 
coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. 
r.rhe mystificatiun which dialectic suffers in Hegel's hands, 
by no means prevents him from being the first to present 
its general form of working in a comprehensive and con- 
scious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It 
must be turned right side up again, if you would dis- 
cover the rational kernel within the mystical shell. 
In its mystified form, dialectic becalne the fashion in 
Gennan y, because it seerned to transfigure and to glorify 
the existing state of things. In its rational form it is a 
scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its do<,- 
trinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehen- 

Author's Prefaces. 


sion and affirmative recognition of the existing state of 
things, at the same time also, the recogn
tion of the 
negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; 
because it regards every historically developed social form 
as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account 
its tran-3ient nature not less than its momentary exist- 
ence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in 
its essence critical and revolutionary. 
The contradictions inherent in the movement of 
capitalist society impress themselves upon the practical 
bourgeois most strikingly in the changes of the periodic 
cycle, through which modern industry runs, and whose 
crowning point is the universal crisis. That crisis is once 
again approaching, although as yet but in its preliminary 
stage; and by the universality of its thea.tre and the 
intensitv of its action it will' drum dialectics even into 
the heads of the mushroom-upstarts of the new, holy 
Prusso-German empire. 


LONDON, January 24, 1813. 










T HE wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode 
of production prevails, presents itself as U an immense 
accumulation of commodities," 1 its unit being a single com- 
modity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the 
analysis of a commodity. 
A commodity is, in the first place, an object outside us, a 
thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort 
or another. The nature of such wants, whether, for instance, 
they spring from the stomach or from fancy, makes no differ- 
1 Karl Ma.rx Zur U Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie." Berlin, 1859, p. .. 


Caþitalist P1oductton. 

ence. 1 Neither are we here concerned to know how the objecti 
satisfies these wants, whether directly as means of subsistence, 
or indirectly as means of production. 
Every useful thing, as iron, paper, &c., may be looked at 
from the two points of vi'.3w of quaI ty and quantity. It is 
an assemblage of many properties, and may thèrefore be of 
use in various ways. To discover the various uses of things is 
the work of history.' So also is the establishment of socially- 
recognised standards of measure for the quantities of these 
useful objects. The diversity of these measures has its origin 
partly in the diverse nature of the objects to be measured, 
partly in convention. 
The utility of a thing makes it a use-value. s But this 
utility is not a thing of air. Being limited by the physical 
properties of the commodity, it has no existence apart from 
that commodity. A commodity, such as iron, corn, or 8r 
diamond, is therefore, so far as it is a material thing, a use- 
value, something useful. This property of a commodity is 
independent of the amount of labour required to appropriat& 
its usefu] qualities. 'V hen treating of use-value, we ahvays 
assume to be dealing ,vith definite quantities, such as dozens 
of watches, yards of linen, or tons of iron. The use-values of 
commodities furnish the material for a special study, that 
of the commercial kno,vledge of commodities. 4 Use-values 
become a reality only by use or consumption: they also con- 

1 "Desire implies want; it is the a.ppetite of the mind, and as natural as hunger to 
the body. . . . The greatest number (of things) have their value from supplying 
the wants of the mind." Nicolas Barbon: "A Discourse on coining the new money 
lighter, in answer to Mr. Locke's Considerations," &c. London, 16U6. p. 2, S. 
2 "Things have an intrinsick vertue" (this is Barbon's special term for value in use) 
"which in all places have the same vcrtue; as the loadstone to attract iron" (I.e., 
p. 6). The property which the magnet possesses of attracting iron, became of use 
only after by meanR of that property the polarity of the magnet had been discovered. 
3 "The natural worth of anything consists in its fitness to supply the necessities, 
or serve the conveniencies of human life." (John Lo
ke, "Some considerations on 
the consequences of the lowering of interest, 1691," in Works Edit. Lond., 1777, 
Yo1. II., p. 28.) In English writers of the 17th century we frequently find "worth" 
m the sense of value in use, and "value" in the sense of exchange value. This is 
quite in accordance with the spirit of a language that likes to use a Teutonic word 
for the actual thing, and a Romance word for its reflexion. 
4 In bourgeois societies the economical fictio juris prevails, that everyone, a.s a 
buyer, possesses an encyclopæùic knowledge of commodities. 



stitute the substance of all wealth, whatever may be the social 
form of that wealth. In the form of society we are about to 
-consider, they are, in addition, the materia] depositories of 
exchange value. 
Exchange value, at first sight, presents itself as a quantitative 
relation, as the proportion in which values in use of one sort 
are exchanged for those of another sort,l a relation constantly 
changing \vith time and place. Hence exchange value appears 
to be sOlnething accidental and purely relative, and conse- 
quently an intrinsic value, i.e., an exchange value that is 
inseparably connected with, inherent in commodities, seems a 
contradiction in terms.' Let us consider the matter a little 
more closely. 
A given commodity, e.g., a quarter of wheat is exchanged 
for x blacking, y silk, or z gold, &c.-in short, for other com- 
modities in the most proportions. Instead of one 
exchange value, the wheat has, therefore, a great many. But 
since x blacking, y silk, or z gold, &c., each represent the 
exchange value of one quarter of wheat, x blacking, y silk, 
z gold, &c., must, as exchange values, be replaceable by each 
other, or equal to each other. Therefore, first: the valid 
exchange values of a given commodity express something- 
equal; secondly, exchange value, generally, is only the mode 
of expression, the phenomenal form, of something containe,J 
in it, yet distinguishable from it. 
Let us take two commodities, e.g., com and iron. The pro- 
portions in \vhich they are exchangeable, whatever those pro- 
portions may be, can always be represented by an equation in 
'" hich a given quantity of corn is equated to some quantity of 
iron: e.g., 1 quarter corn=x cwt. irón. What does this equa- 
tion tell us 1 It tells us that in two different things-in 1 
quarter of corn and x cwt. of iron, there exist
 in equal quarl- 
tities something common to both. The t\VO things must there- 

1 Ie La valeur eonsiste dans Ie ra.pport d'échange qui se trouve entre t('lle ehose c
tE'Ile a.utre, entre telle mesure d'une production, et telle mesur
 d'une autre." (Le 
Trosne : De l' Intérêt Social. Physiocrates, Ed. Daire. Paris, 1845. P. 880.) 
2 "Nothing can have an intrinsick value." (N. Barbon, Le., p. 6); or as Butler 

II The value of a thing 
Is lust M much as it will bring." 


Caþitalist Product-ion. 

fore be equal to a third, which in itself is neither the one nor 
lhe other. Each of them, so far as it is exchange value, must 
therefore be reducible to this third. 
A simple geometrical illustration will make this clear. In 
order to ca.1culate and compare the areas of rectilinear figures,. 
we decompose them into triangles. But the area of the tri- 
angle itself is expressed by something totally different from its 
visible figure, namely, by half the product of the base into- 
the altitude. In the same way the exchange values of com- 
modities must be capable of being expressed in terms of some- 
thing common to them all, of which thing they represent :}.. 
greater or less quantity. 
This common "something" cannct be either a geometrical,. 
a chemical, or any other natural property of commodities. 
.-êuch properties claim our attention only in so far as they 
I aff
ct the utility of those commodities, make them use-values
,But the exchange of commodities is evidently an act character- 
ised by a total abstraction from use-value. Then one use- 

value is just as good as another, provided only it be present in 
18ufficient quantity. Or, as old Barbon says, (( one sort of 
wares are as good as another, if the values be equal. There is 
_ no difference or distinction in things of equal value . . . . 
An hundred pounds' worth of lead or iron, is of as great value- 
as one hundred pounds' worth of silver or gold."l As use-values,. 
commodities are, above all, of different qualities, but as ex- 
change values tLey are merely different quantities, and conse- 
quently do not contain an atom of use-value. 
If then we leave out of consideration the use-value of com- 
modities, they have only one common property left, that of 
being products of labour. But even the product of labour 
itself has undergone a change in our hands. If we make 
abstraction from its use-value, we make abstraction at the 
same time frc,m the material elements and shapes that make 
the product a use-value; we see in it no longer a table, a house, 
yarn, or any other useful thing. Its existence as a materjal 
thing is put out of sight. Neither can it any longer be re- 
garded as the product of the labour of the joiner, the mason. 
1 N. Barbon, 1. c. p. 53 and 7. 

C 01JZ1Jlodz'tzes. 


the spinner, or of any other definite kind of productive 
labour. Along with the useful qualities of the products them- 
selves, w
t out of sight both the useful-character of the 
various kinds of labour- eln bod ied iñ them, and the c onc rete 
fornls of that labour j there is nothing left but what is COlllmon 
to thenl á11; aU are reduced. to one and the same sort of 
labour; human lab
r in the abstract. - 
"""-- ,,", 
Let us no
onsider the residue of each of these products j 
it consists of the same unsubstantial reality in each, a mere '\ r' ' 
congelation of homogeneous human labour, of labour-power ex- ) \J CY 
pended without regard to the mode of its expenditure. All 
that these things now tell us is, that human labour-po\ver has 
been expended in their production, that hUlnan labour is em- 
bodied in them. \Vhen looked at as 'ry
 of this social 
substance, common to them all, they are,=-Values. 
'Ve have seen that when commodities are exchanged, their 
exchange value manifests itself as something totally independ- 

 of their u
-value. But if we abstract from their use-value, 
there remains their Value 38 defined above. Therefore, the 
common substance that manifests itself in the exchange value 
of commodities, whenever they are exchanged, is their value. 
The progress of our investigation ,vill show that exchange 
value is the only form in which the value of commodities can 
manifest itself or be expressed. For the present, ho,vever, we 
have to consider the nature of value independently of this, its 
A use-value, or useful article, therefore, has value only because 
human labour in the abstract has been embodied or material- 
ised in it. Ho,v, then, is the magnitude of this value to be 
measured 7 Plainly, by the quantity of the value-creating 
substance, the labour, contained in the article. The quantity 
-of labour, however, is measured by its duration, and labour- 
time in its turn finds its standard in weeks, days, and hours. 
Some people might think that if the value of a COllUllodity 
is determined by the quantity of labour spent on it, the more 
idle and unskilful the labourer, the more valuable would his 
.commodity be, because more time would be required in its 
production. The labour, however. t,bat forms the substance of 


Caþitalist Production. 

value, is homogeneous human labour, expenditure of one uniform 
labour-power. The total Jabour-power of society, which is- 
embodied in tlle sum total of the values of all commodities pro- 
duced by that society, counts here as one homogeneous mass or 
human labour-power, composed though it be of innumerable 
individual units. Each of these unit') is the same as any other, 
so far as it has the character of the average labour-power of 
society, and takes effect as such; that is, so far as it requires for 
producing a commodity, no more time than is needed on an 
average, no more than is socially necessary. The labour-time- 
socially necessary is that required to produce an article under 
the normal conditions of production, and with the average 
degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time. The intro- 
duction of power looms into England probably reduced. by one 
half the labour required to weave a given quantity of yarn into 
cloth. The hand-loom weavers, as a matter of fact, continued 
to require the same time as before j but for all that, the pro- 
duct of one hour of their labour represented after the change 
only half an hour's social labour, and consequently fell to one- 
half its former value. 
\Ve see then that that which determines the magnitude of 
the value of any article is the amount of labour sociaHy neces- 
sary, or the labour-time socially necessary for its production. l 
Each individ.ual commodity, in this connexion, is to be con- 
sidered as an average sample of its class.' Commoditie3, there- 
fore, in which equal quantities of labour are embodied, or 
which can be produced in the saIne time, have the same value. 
The value of one commodity is to the value of any other, as the. 
labour-time necessary for the production of the one is to that 
necessary for the production of the other. (( As values, all com- 
modities are only definite masses of congealed labour-time.'" 

1 u The 
a.1ue of thèm (the neceøøa.rieø of life), when they are exchanged the one for 
another, is regulated bi the quantity of labour necessarily required, and commonly 
taken in producing them." (Some Thoughts on the Interest of Money in general J and 
particularly in the Publick Funds, &c. Lond., p. 36.) This remarkable anonyrñõu& 
work, written in the last century, bears no date. It is clear, however, from internal 
evidence, that it appeared in the reign of George II. about 1739 or 1740. 

 "Toutesles productions d'un même genre ne forment proprement qu'une masse. 
dont Ie prix se détermine en général et sans êgard aux circollstances particulières.>> 
(Le Trosne, 1. c. p. 893.) iI K. :Marx. 1. c. p. 6. 

Co 1Jlnzodities. 


The value of a commodity ,vould therefore remain constant, 
if the labour-tinle required for its production also remained 
constant. But the latter changes with every variation in the 
productiveness of labour. This productiveness is determined 
by various circumstances, amongst others, by the average 
amount of skill of the workmen, the state of science, and the 
degree of its practical application, the social organisation of 
production, the extent and capabilities of the Ineans of pro- 
duction, and. by physical conditions. For exalnple, the 
same amount of labour in favourable seasons is embodied 
in 8 bushels of corn, and in unfavonrable, only in four. 
The same labour extracts from rich mines more metal than 
from poor mines. Diamonds are. of very rare OCCUlTence on 
the earth's surface, and hence their discovery costs, on an aver- 
age, a great deal of labour-tilDe. Consequently much labour 
is represented in a small compass. Jacob doubts whether gold 
has ever been paid for at its full value. This applies still 
more to diamonds. According to Eschwege, the total produce 
of the Brazilian diamond mines for the eighty years, ending 
in 1823, had not realised the price of one-and-a-half years' 
average produce of the sugar and coffee plantations of the 
Rame country, although the diamonds cost much more labour, 
and therefore represented more value. 'Vith richer mines, the 
saIne quantity of labour would embody itself in more diamonds, 
and their value would fall. If we could succeed at a small 
expenditure of labour, in converting carbon into diamonds, 
their value might fall below that of bricks. In general, the 
greater the productfveness of labour, the less is the labour-time 
required for the production of an article, the less is the amount 
of labour crystallised in that article, and the less is its value j 
and vice versd, the less the productiveness of labour, the greater 
is the labour-time required for the production of an article, 
and the greater is its value. The value of a commodity, there- 
fore, varies directly as the quantity, and inversely as the 
productiveness, of the labour incorporated in it. 
A thing can be a use-value, without having value. This is 
the case whenever its utility to man is not due to labour. 
Such a-re air, virgin soil, natural meadows, &c. A thing can 



Caþz/alist Production. 

be useful, and the product of human labour, without being a 
commodity. Whoever directly satisfies his wants with the 
produce of his own labour, creates, indeed, use-values, but not 
commodities. In order to produce the latter, he must not only 
produce use-values, but use-values for others, social use-values. 
Lastly, nothing can have value, without being an object of 
utility. If the thing is useless, so is the labour contained in 
it; the labour does not count as labour, and therefore creates 
no value. 



At first sight a commodity presented itself to us as a complex 
of two things-use-value and exchange-value. Later on, we 
saw also that labour, too, possesses the same two-fold nature; 
for, so far as it finds expression in value, it does not possess the 
ßame characteristics that belong to it as a creator of use-values. 
I was the first to point out and to examine critically this two- 
fold nature of the labour contained in commodities. As this 
point is the pivot on which a clear comprehension of political 
economy turns, we must go more into detail. 
Let us take two commodities such as a coat and 10 yards of 
linen, and let the former be double the value of the latter, 80 
that, if 10 yards of linen= W, the coat=2W. 
The coat is a use-value that satisfie.-
 a particular want. Its 
existence is the result of a special sort of productive activity, 
the nature of which is determined by its aim, mode of opera- 
tion, subject, means, and result. The labour, whose utility is 
thus represented by the value in use of its product, or which 
manifests itself by making its product a use-value, we call 
useful labour. In this connexion we consider only its useful 
.Ai!, the coat and the linen are two qualitatively different use- 
values, so also are the two forms of labour that produce them, 
tailoring and weaving. Were these two objects not quali- 
tatively different, not produced respectively by labour of 
different quality, they could not stand to each other in the 

C om l1loditzes . 


relation of commodities. Coats are not exchanged for coats, 
one use-value is not exchanged for another of the same kind. 
To all the different varieties of values in use there correspond as 
many different kinds of useful labour, classified according to the 
order, genus, species, and variety to which they belong in the 
social division of labour. This division of labour is a necessary 
condition for the production of commodities, but it does not 
foIl 0 \V, conversely, that the production of commodities is a 
necessary condition for the division of labour. In the primitive 
Indian community there is social division of labour, without 
production of commodities. Or, to take an example nearer 
home, in every factory the labour is divided according to a 
system, but this division is not brought about by the operatives 
mutually exchanging their individual products. Only such 
products can become cOlnmodities with regard to each other, as 
result from different kinds of labour, each kind being carried 
on independently and for the account of private individuals. 
To resun1e, then: In the use-value of each commodity there 
is contained useful labour, i.e., productive activity of a definite 
kind and exercised with a definite aim. Use-values cannot 
confront each other as cOllilnodities, unless the useful labour 
embodied in them iH qualitatively different in each of them. 
In a comluunity, the produce of which in general takes the 
form of cOlnmodities, i.e., in a community of commodity pro- 
ducers, this qualitative difference between the useful forms of 
labour that are carried on independently by individual pro- 
ducers, each on their o"\\Tn account, develops into a com plex 
system, a social division of labour. 
Anyho\v, whether the coat be worn by the tailor or by his 
customer, in either case it operates as a use-value. Nor is the 
relation between the coat and the labour that produced it 
altered by the circumstance that tailoring may have become a 
special trade, an independent branch of the social division of 
labour. 'Vherever the want of clothing forced them to it, the 
human race made clothes for thousands of years, without a 
single man becoming a tailor. But coats and linen, like every 
other element of material wealth that is not the spontaneous 
.produce of nature, must invariably owe their existence to a 


Caþitalist Production. 

special productive activity, exercised with a definite aim, an 
activity that appropriates particular nature-given Inaterials to 
particular human wants. So far therefore as labour is a 
creator of use-value, is useful labour, it is a necessary con- 
dition, independent of all forms of society, for the existence of 
the human race; it is an eternal nature-imposed necessity, 
without which there can be no material exchanges between 
man and Nature, and therefore no life. 
The use-values, coat, linen, &c., i.e., the bodies of commodi- 
ties, are combinations of two elements-matter and labour. 
If we take away the useful labour expended upon them, a. 
n1aterial substratum is always left, which is furnished by 
Nature without the help of man. The latter can work only 
as Nature does, that is by changing the form of matter.! Nay 
more, in this work of changing the form he is conßtantly helped 
by natural forces. We see, then, that labour is not the only 
source of material wealth, of use-values produced by labour. 
As William Petty puts it, labour is its father and the earth its 
Let us now pass from the commodity considered as a use
value to the value of commodities. 
By our assumption, the coat is worth twice as much as the 
linen. But this is a mere quantitative difference, which for the 
present does not concern us. We bear in mind, however, that 
if the value of the coat is double that of 10 yds. of linen, 20 
yds. of linen must have the same value a,C3 one coat. So far 
as they are values, the coat and the linen are thing
 of a like 
substance, objective expressions of essentially identical labour. 
But tailoring and weaving are, qualitatively, different kinds of 

1 Tutti i fenomeni dell' universo, sieno essi prodotti della dell' nomo, ovvcro. 
delle universali leggi della fisica, non ci danno idea di attuale creazione, ma unica- 
mente di una moùificazione della. materia. Accostare e separare lIono gli Ul'1ici cle- 
menti che l'ingegno umanð ritrova. analizzando l'idea della riproduzione: e tanto è ri- 
produzione di vaJore (value in use, although Verri in this passage of his controversy 
with the Physiocrats is not himself quite certain of the kind of value he is speaking 
of) e di ricchezze se la terra l'ariae l'acqua ne' campi si trasmutino in grano, come Be 
eol1a dell' uomo il glutine di un insetto si trasmuti in velluto ovvero a.lcuni pez- 
setti di metallo si organiazino a formare una. ripetizione."-Pietro Verri. "Medita- 
&Íoni sulla Economia Politica" [first printed in 1773] in Custodi'ø edition of the 
ItaJJui Economists, Parte Moderna, t. xv. p. 22. 



our. 'There are, however, states of socle\JY tn which one and 
the same man does tailoTing anù weaving alternately, in which 
case the
e two forms of labour are mere modifications of the 
labour of the same individual, and not special and fixed func- 
tions of different persons; just as the coat which our tailor 
makes one day, and the trousers which he makes another day, 
inlply only a variation in the labour of one and the same indi- 
vidual. l\Ioreover, we see at a glance that, in our capitalist 
society, a given portion of human labour is, in accordance with 
the varying demand, at one time supplied in the form of tailor- 
ing, at another in the form of weaving. This change may 
possibly not take place without friction, but take place it must. 
Productive activity, if we leave out of sight its special form, 
viz., the useful character of the labour, is nothing but the ex- 
penditure of human labour-power. Tailoring and weaving, 
though qualitatively different productive activities, are each a 
productive expenditure of human brains, nerves, and muscles, 
and in this sense are human labour. They are but two 
different modes of expending human labour-power. Of course, 
this labour-power, which remains the same under all its modi- 
fications, must have attained a certain pitch of developn1ent 
before it can be expended in a multiplicity of modes. But the 
value of a commodity represents human labour in the abstract, 
the expenditure of human labour in general. And just as in 
society, a general or a banker plays a great part, but mere 
man, on the other hand, a very shabby part,1 so here with 
mere hUlnan labour. It is the expenditure of simple labour- 
power, i.e., of the labour-power which, on an average, apart 
from any special development, exists in the organisln of every 
ordinary individual. Simple average labour, it is true, varies 
in character in different countries and at different times, but 
in a particular society it is given. Skilled labour counts only 
as simple labour intensified, or rather, a.s multiplied simple 
labour, a given quantity of skilled being considered equal to a 
greater quantity of simple labour. Experience shows that this 
leduction is constantly being made. A commodity may be the 
product of the most skilled labour, but its value, by equating 
1 Compo Hegel, Philosophie des Rechts. Berlin, 1840. P. 250 f 190. 


Caþitalist Production. 

it to the product of simple unskilled labour, represents a 
definite quantity of the latter labour alone. 1 The different 
proportions in which different sorts of labour are reduced to 
unskilled labour as their standard, are established by a social 
process that goes on behind the backs of the producera, and, 
consequently, appear to be fixed by custom. For simplicity's 
sake we shall henceforth account every kind of labour to be 
unskilled, simple labour; by this we do no more than save 
()urselves the trouble of making the reduction. 
Just as, therefore, in viewing the coat and linen as values, 
,ve abstract from their different use-values, so it is with the 
labour represented by those values: we disregard the difference 
between its useful forms, weaving and tailoring. As the use- 
values, coat and linen, are combinations of special productive 
.acti vities with cloth and yarn, while the values, coat and linen, 
.are, on the other hand, mere homogeneous congelations of 
indifferentiated labour, so the labour embodied in these latter 
values does not count by virtue of its productive relation to 
.cloth and yarn, but only as being expenditure of human 
labour-po\ver. Tailoring and weaving are necessary factors in 
the creation of the use-values, coat and linen, precisely because 
these two kinds of labour are of different qualities; but only 
in so far as abstraction is made from their special qualities, 
.only in so far as both possess the same quality of being human 
labour, do tailoring and weaving form the substance of the 
values of the same articles. 
Coats and linen, however, are not merely values, but value& 
.of definite magnitude, and according to our assumption, the 
.coat is worth twice as nluch as the ten yards of linen. 'Vhence 
this difference in their values 1 It is owing to the fact that 
the linen contains only half as much labour as the coat, 
.and conseqently, that in the production of the latter, labour- 
power must have been expended during t\vice the time 
necessary for the production of the fonner. 
While, therefore, with reference to use-value, the labour con- 
I The reader must note that we are not speaking here of the wages or va.lue tha.i 
"he labourer gets for 8r givelllabour time, but of the value of the commodity in which 
that labour time is materialiseJ. 'Vages is 8r category that, as yet, hab no exi.tenoe 
at the present ItaKe of our iuvestigation. 



tained in a. commodity counts only qualltatively, with refer- 
ence to value it counts only quantitatively, and must first be 
reduced to human labour pure and simple. In the former 
case, it is a. question of How and What, in the latter of How 
much 1 How long a time 1 
ince the magnitude of the value of 
a. commodity representq only the quantity of labour embodied 
in it, It follows that all commodities, when taken in certain 
proportions, must be equal in value. 
If the 
roducti ve po\ver of all the different sorts of useful 
labour reçuired for the production of a coat remains unchanged, 
the sum of the values of the coats produced increases with 
their number. If one coat represents x days' labour, two 
coats represent 2x days' labour, and so OD. But assume that 
the duration of the labour necessary for the production of a 
coat hecomes doubled or halved. In the first case, one coat is 
worth as Dluch as two coats were before; in the second case, 
two coats are only worth as much as one was before, although 
in both cases one coat renders the same service as before, and 
the useful labour embodied in it remains of the same quality. 
But the quantity of labour spent on its production has altered. 
An increa.<:;e in the quantity of use-values is an increase of 
material wealth. With two coats two men can be clothed, 
with one coat only one n1an. Nevertheless, an increased 
quantity of mat,erial wealth may correspond to a. simultaneous 
fall in the magnitude of its value. This antagonistic move- 
ment has its origin in the two-fold character of labour. 
Productive power has reference, of course, only to labour of 
some useful concrete form; the efficacy of any special produc... 
tive activity during a given time being dependent on its 
productiveness. Useful labour becomes, therefore, a more or 
Jess abundant source of 'products, in proportion to the rise or 
fall of its productiveness. On the other hand, no chauge in this 
productiveness affects the labour represented by value. Since 
productive power is an attribute of the concrete useful forms 
of labour, of course it can no longer have any bearing on that 
labour, so soon as we make abstraction from those concrete 
useful forms. However then productive power may vary, the 
same labour, e:xerciood during equal periods of time, always 

. --
-- --


Caþzta/ist Productzon 

yields equal amounts of value. But it will yield, during equal 
periods of time, different quantities of values in use; more, if 
the productive power rise, fewer, if it fall. The same chan 6 e 
in productive power, which increases the fruitfulness of labour 
and, in consefluence, the quantity of use-values produced by 
that labour, will diminish the total value of this increased 
quantity of use-values, pro'\-ided such change shørten the total 
labour-time necessary for their production j and vice versâ. 
On the one hand all labour is, speaking physiologically, an 
expenditure of human labour-power, and in its character of 
iJentical abstract human labour, it creates and forms the value 
of commodities. On the other hand, aU labour is the expendi- 
ture of human labour-power in a special form and ,vith a 
definite aim, and in this, its character of concrete useful labour, 
it produces use-values. 1 


Commodities come into the world in the shape of use-values, 
articles, or goods, such as iron, linen, corn, &c. This is their 
1 In order to prove that labour alone is that all-sufficient and real measure, by 
which at all times the value of all commodities can be estimated and compared, 
Adam Smith says, "Equal quantities of labour must at all times and in all places 
have the same value for the labourer. In his normal state of health, strength, an,! 
activity, and with the average degree of skill that he may possess, he must alwa) 8 
give up the same portion of his rest, his freedom, and his happiness. JJ (Wealth of 
Nations, b. I. ch. v.) On the one hand, Adam Smith here (but not everywhere) con- 
fuses the determination of value by means of the quantity of labour expended in the 
production of commodities, with the determination of the values of commodities by 
means of the value of labour, and seeks in consequence to prove that equal quantitic'j 
of labour have always the same value. On the other hand, he has a presentiment, 
that labour, so far as it manifests itself in the value of commodities, counts only 8S 
expenditure of labour power, but he treats this expenditure as the mere sacrifice of 
rest, freedom, anù happiness, not as at the same time the normal activity of living 
beings. But then, he has the modern wage-labourer in his eye. Much more aptl)y, 
the anonymous predecessor of Adam Smith, quoted above in Note 1, p. 6, says "one man 
has employed himself a week in providing this neceS83.ry of life . . . and he tha i; 
gives him Bome other in exchange, cannot make a better estimate of what Is a pro- 
per equivalent, than by computing what cost him just as much labour and time; 
which in effect is no more than exchanging one man's labour in one thing for a timð 
certain, for another man's labour in another thing for the same time." (1. c. p. 39.) 
[The English language has the advantage of possessing different words for the two 
aspects of labour here considered. The labour which creates Use-Value, and counh 
qualitatively, is Work, as distinguished from Labour; that which creates Value and 
oounts q1Ãantitatively, is Labour as distinguished from W ork.-ED.] 

C01JZ III oditzes. 


plain, homely, bodily form. They are, howeyer, commodities, 
only because they are something twofold, both objects of utility, 
and, at the same time, depositories of value. They manifest 
tbenlselves therefore as commodities, or have the form of com- 
Inodities, only in so far as they have two forms, a physical 
or natural fonn, and a value form. 
The reality of the value of commodities differs in this respect 
from Dame Quickly, that ,ve don't kno,v " where to bave it." 

rhe value of commodities is the very opposite of the coarse mate" 
riality of their substance, not an atom of matter enters into its 
composition. 'rum and examine a single commodity, by itself, 
as ,ve will. Yet in so far as it remains an object of value, it 
seems impossible to grasp it. If, however, we bear in mind that 
the value of commodities has a purely social reality, and that 
they acquire this reality only in so far as they are expressions 
or embodiments of one identical social sub
tance, viz., human 
labour, it follows as a matter of course, that value' can only 
manifest itself in the social relation of commodity to com- 
modity. In fact we sta.rted from exchange value, or the 
exchange relation of cOIllmodities, in order to get at the value 
that lies hidden behind it. "\Ve must now return to this fo;:m 
under which value first appeared to us. 
Everyone knows, if he knows nothing else, that commodities 
have a value form common to them all, and presenting a 
marked contrast ,vith the varied bodily forms of their use- 
value:). I mean their money form. l1ere, however, a task is set 
us, the performance of which has never yet even been attempted 
by bourgeois econODlY, the task of tracing the genesis of this 
money form, of developing the expression of value implied in 
the value relation of commodities, from its simplest, almost 
imperceptible outline, to the dazzling money form. By doing 
this we shall, at the same time, solve the riddle presented by 
The simplest value relation is evidently that of one com- 
modity to some one other commodity of a different kind. 
Hence the relation between the values of two commodities sup- 
piies us with the simplest expression of the value of a single 


C aþzïalz'st P1"oductz"on. 
A. Elementary or Accidental Form of Val
x commodity A = Y commodity B, or 
x comn1odity A is worth y commodity B. 
20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or 
20 yards of linen are worth 1 coat. 

1. The two poles of the expression of value: Relative form and 
Equivalent form. 
The whole mystery of the form of value lies hidden in 
this elementary form. Its analysis, therefore, is our real 
Here two different kinds of commodities (in our example 
the linen and the coat), evidently play two different parts. 
The linen expresses its value in the coat; the coat serves as the 
material in which that value is expressed. The former plays 
an active, the latter a passive, part. The value of the linen is 
represented as relative value, or appears in relative form. 
The coat officiates as equivalent, or appears in equivalent 
The relative form and the equivalent form are two intimately 
connected, mutually dependent and inseparable elements of the 
expression of value; but, at the same time, are mutually 
exclusive, antagonist.ic extremes-i.e., poles of the same 
expression. They are allotted respectively to the two different 
commodities brought into relation by that expression. It is 
not possible to express the value of linen in linen. 20 yards 
of linen = 20 yards of linen is no expression of value. On the 
contrary, such an equation merely says that 20 yards of linen 
are nothing else than 20 yards of linen, a definite quantity of 
the use-value linen. The value of the linen can therefore be 
expressed only relatively-i.e., in some other commodity. The 
relative form of the value of the linen pre-supposes, therefore, 
the presence of some other commodity-here the coat--under 
the form of an equivalent. On the other hand, the commodity 
that figures as the equivalent cannot at the same time assume 
the relative form. That second comlnodity is not the one 
whose value is expressed. Its function is merely to serve as 


1 7 

the material in which the value of the first commodity is 
1\" 0 don bt, the expression 20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or 20 
yards of linen are worth 1 coat, ilnplies the opposite relat.ion: 1 
coat = 20 yards of linen, or 1 coat is worth 20 yards of linen. 
But, in that case, I must reverse the equation, in order to 
express the value of the coat relatively; and, so soon as I do 
that, the linen becomes the equivalent instead of thè coat. 
A single commodity cannot, therefore, simultaneou
ly assume, 
in the same expres
ion of value, both fornls. The very 
polarity of these fonns makes them mutually exclu:::;i ve. 
'Vhether, then, a cOllilnodity aSSUllles the relative form, or 
the opposite equivalent form, depends entirely upon its acci- 
dental position in the expression of value-tha.t is, upon 
whether it is the commodity whose value i8 being expressed or 
the commodity in wbich value is being expressed. 

2. The Rclat'ive form of value. 
(a.) The nature and imp07't of this form. 
In order to discover how the elementary expression of the 
vaJue of a commodity lies hidden in the value relation of t\VO 
commodities, we must, in the first place, consider the latter 
entirely apart from its quantitative aspect. The usual Dlode of 
procedure is generally the reverse, and in the value relation 
nothing is seen but the proportion between definite quantities 
of two different sorts of commodities that are considered equal 
to each other. It is apt to be forgotten that the magnitudes 
of different things can be compared quantitatively, only wnen 
those magnitudes are expressed in terms of the same unit. It 
is only as expressions of such a unit that they are of the same 
denomination, and therefore commensurable. l 
Whether 20 yards of linen == 1 coat or == 20 coats or == x 

1 The few econemistB, amongst whom is S. Bailey, who have occupied theIn
with the analysis of the form of value, have been unable to arrive at any result, first, 
because they confuse the form of value with value itself; and second, Lecause, under 
the coarse influence of the practical bourgeois, they exclusively give their attention to 
the quantitative aspect of the question. "The command of quantity . 
constitutes value. JJ (" Money and ita Vicissitudes. '" London, 1837. p. 11. By S. 



Caþitalist Production. 

coats-that is, whether a given quantity of linen is worth fe,v 
or many coats, every such statement implies that the linen and 
coats, as magnitudes of value, are expressions of the same unit, 
tbings of the same kind. Linen = coat is the basis of the 
But the two commodities whose identity of quality is thus 
Qssumed, do not play the same part. It is only the value of 
the linen that is expressed. And how? By its reference to 
the coat as its equivalent, as something that can be exchanged 
for it. In this relation the coat is the mod0 of existence of 
value, is value embodied, for only as such is it the same as the 
linen. On the other hand, the linen's own value comes to the 
front, receives independent expression, for it is only as being 
value that it is comparable with the coat as a thing of equal 
value, or exchangeable with the coat. To borro\van illustra- 
tion from chemistry, butyric acid is a different substance from 
propyl formate. Yet both are made up of the same chemical 
substances, carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (0), and 
that, too, in like proportions-namely, C 4 H s Ü I . If now we 
equate butyric acid to propyl formate, then, in the first place, 
propyl formate would be, in this relation, merely a form of 
existence of C 4 H s 0 2 ; and in the second place, we should be 
stating that butyric acid also consists of C 4 H s ü 2 . Therefore, 
by thus equating the two substances, expression would be givèn 
to their chemical composition, while their different physical 
forms would be neglected. 
If ,ve say that, as values, commodities are mere congelations 
of human labour, we reduce them by our analysis, it is true, to 
the abstraction, value; but we ascribe to this value no forn1 
apart from their bodily form. It is otherwise in the value 
relation of one commodity to another. Here, the one stanùs 
forth in its character of value by reason of its relation to the 
By making the coat the equivalent of the linen, we equate 
the labour elnbodied in the fornler to that in the latter. Now, 
it is true that the tailoring, which makes the coat, is con.crete 
labour of a different sort from the weaving \vhich makes the 
linen. But the act of equating it to the v.'eaving, reducø



tailoring to that which is really equal in the two kinds ot 
labour, to their COllllllon character of human labour. In this 
roundabout ,vay, then, the fact is expres3ed, that ,veavin
in so far as it weaves value, has nothing to distinguish it froln 
tailoring, and, consequently, is abstract human labour. It is 
the expression of equivalence between different sorts of com- 
moditie8 that alone brings into relief the specific character of 
value-creating labour, and this it does Ly actually reducing 
the different varieties of labour embodied in the different 
kinds of cOffilllodities to their common quality of human labour 
in the abstract. 1 
There is, however, something else required beyond the 
expression of the specific character of the labour of ,vhich the 
value of the linen consi::;ts. Human labour-power in motion, 
or bU111an labour, creates value, but is not itself value. It 
òecornes value only in its congealed state, ,vhen embodied in 
the form of some object. In order to express the value of the 
linen as a congelation of human labour, that value must 'be 
expressed as having objective existence, as being a something 
materially different from the linen itself: and yet a something 

ommon to the linen and all other commodities. The problem 
is already solved. 
\Vhen occupying the position of equivalent in the equation 
of value, the coat ranks qualitatively as the equal of the linen, 
flS something of the same kind, because it i::; value. In this posi- 
tion it is a thing in which ,ve see nothing but value, or ,vhose 
palpable bodily form repre
ents value. Yet the coat itself, the 
body of the commoJity, coat, is a nlere use-value. A coat as 
such no ll.1ore tell::; us it is value, than does the first piece of 
linen we take hold of. This shows that ,vhen placed in value 

1 The celebrated Franklin, one of the first economists, after Wm. Petty, who saw 
'through the nature of value, says: "'l'rade in general being nothing else but the 
exchange of labour for labour, the value of all things is . . . . most justly 
measured by labour." (The works of B. Franklin, &c., edited by Sparks. Boston, 
183G. Vol. II., p. 2G7.) FraLklin is unconscious that by estimating the value ùf 
-everything in labour, he makes abstraction from any difference in the sorts of labour 
exchanged, and thus reduces them all to equal human labour. But although 
igrwrant of this, yet he says it. IIe speaks first of "the one labour," then of "the 
other labour," and finaHy of "labour," without further qualification, as the substance 
{)t ibe value of everything. 


Caþitalist Productzon. 

relation to thð linen, the coat signifies more than when out of 
tha.t relation, just as many a man strutting about in a gorgeous 
uniform counts for more than when in mufti. 
In the production of the coat, human labour-power, iu the 
shape of tailoring, must have been actually expended. Human 
labour is therefore accumulated in it. In this aspect the coat is 
a depository of value, but though worn to a thread, it does not 
let this fact show through. And as equivalent of the linen in 
the value equation, it exists under this aspect alone, counts 
therefore as embodied value, as a body that is value. A, for 
instance, cannot be cc your majesty" to B, unless at the same 
time n1ajesty in B's eyes assumes the bodily form of A, and, 
what is more, with every new father of the people, changes its 
features, hair
 and many other things besides. 
Hence, in the value equation, in which the coat is the equiva- 
lent of the linen, the coat officiates as the form of value. The 
value of the commodity linen is expressed by the bodily form of 
the commodity coat, the value of one by the use-value of the 
other. As a use-value, the linen is something palpably dif- 
ferent from the coat; as value, it is the same as the coat, and 
now has the appearance of a coat. Thus the linen acquires 
a value form different from its physical form. The fact that it 
is value, is made manifest by its equality with the coat, just as 
the sheep's nature of a Christian is shown in his resemblance 
to the Lamb of God. 
'Ve see, then, all that our analysis of the value of commo- 
dities has already told us, is told us by the linen itself, so soon 
as it comes into comn1unication with another commodity, the 
coat. Only it betrays its thoughts in that language with 
"\\Thich alone it is familiar, the language of commodities. In 
order to tell us that its own value is created by labour in its 
abstract character of human labour, it says that the coat, in so 
far as it is worth a:;; much as the linen, and therefore is value, 
consists oÎ the same labour as the linen. In order to inform 
us that its sublime reality as value is not the same as its buck- 
ram body, it says that value has the appearance of a coat, and 
consequently that so far as the linen is value, it and the coat 
are as like as two I eas. 'Ve may here remark, that th



guage of commodities has, besides Hebrew, many othel more or 
less correct dialects. The Gennan cc werthsein," to be worth, 
for instance, expresses in a less striking manner than the 
Romance verbs" valere," c'valer," "valoir," that the equating of 
commodity B to commodity A, is commodity A's own. mode of 
expressing its value. Paris vaut bien une Inesse. 
By means, therefore, of the value relation expressed in Our 
equation, the bodily form of cOlnmoùity B becolnes the value 
form of commodity .L\, or the body of commodity B acts as a 
mirror to the value of commodity A.I By putting itself in re- 
lation with cOlnlnodity B, as value in pro]Yì'iâ pel'sonâ, as the 
matter of ,,"hich human labour is made up, tbe cOll1modity A 
converts the value in use, B, into the substance in ,vLich to 
express its, A'R, own value. The value of A, thus expressed in 
the use-value of B, has taken the form of relative value. 

(b.) Quantitative detm'?nination of Relative value. 
Every commodity, whose value it is intended to express, is a 
useful object of given quantity, as 15 bu
hels of corn, or 100 
lbs. of coffee. And a given quantity of any commodity con- 
tains a definite quantity of hUlnan labour. The value-form 
must therefore not only express value generally, but also value 
in definite quantity. Therefore, in the value relation of com- 
Inodity A to cOll1modity B, of the linen to the coat, not only is 
the latter, as value in general, Inade the equal in quality of the 
linen, but a definite quantity of coat (1 coat) is made the 
equivalent of a definite quantity (20 yards) of linen. 
The equation, 20 yards of linen = 1 coat, or 20 yards of linen 
are ,vorth one coat, implies that the same quantity of value- 
substance (congealed labour) is embodied in both; that the 
t\VO cOIl1modities have each cost the same amount of labour or 
the same quantity of labour time. But the labour time 
necessary for the production of 20 yartls of linen or 1 coat 

1 In a. sort of way, it is with man as with commodities. Since he comes into the 
world neither with a looking glass in his hand, nor as a Fichtian philosopher, to whom 
"I am I" is sufficient, man first sees and recognises himself in other men. Peter only 
establishes his own identity as a man by first comparing himself with Paul as being 
-()f like kind. And thereby Paul, just as he stands in his Pauline personality, bð- 

.omes to Peter the type of the genus homo. 


Caþ,italzst Production. 

varies with every change in the productiveness of weaving OF 
tailoring. We have now to consider the influence of such 
changes on the quantitative aspect of the relative expression of 
I. Let the value of the linen vary,t that of the coat remaining 
constant. If, say in consequence of the exhaustion of flax- 
growing soil, the labour time necessary for the production of 
the linen be doubled, the value of the linen will also be doubled 
Instead of the equation, 20 yards of linen:: 1 coat, we should 
have 20 yards of Hnen = 2 coats, since 1 coat would now con- 
tain only half the labour time embodied in 20 yards of linen. 
It: on tbe other hand, in consequence, say, of improved looms, 
this labour time be reduced by one half, the value of the linen 
would fall by one half: Consequently, we should have 20 
yards of linen =! coat. The relative value of commodity A, 
i.e., its value expressed in commodity B, rises and falls directly 
as the value of A, the value of B being supposed constant. 
II. Let the value of the linen remain constant, while the 
vaiue of the coat varies. If, under these circumstances, in 
consequence, for instance, of a poor crop of wool, the labour 
time necessary for the production of a coat becomef:i doubled. 
we have instead of 20 yards of linen = 1 coat, 20 yards of linen 
= 1 coat. If, on the other hand, the value of the coat sinks 
by one half, then 20 yards of linen = 2 coats. Hence, if the 
value of commodity A remain constant, its relative value ex- 
pressed in commodity B rises and falls inversely as the valu 
of B. 
If we compare the different cases in 1. and II, we Bee that, 
the same change of magnitude in relative value may arise from 
totally opposite causes. Thus, the equation, 20 yards of linen 
= 1 coat, becomes 20 yards of linen = 2 coats, either, because, 
the value of the linen has doubled, or because the value of the 
coat has fallen by one half; and it becomes 20 yaI ds of linen 
= ! coat, either, because the value of the linen has fallen by 
one half, or because the value of the coat has doubled. 
III. Let the quantities of labour time respectively neces- 

J Value is here, as occasionally in the preceding pages, used in the senRe of valuft- 
rmined a.s t.o quantiQr. or of magnitude of value. 



iary for the production of the linen and the coat vary sÏI.n- 
ultaneously in the same direction and in the same proportion. 
In thili case 20 yards of linen continue equal to 1 coat, ho\vever 
much their values may have altered. Their change of value is 

een as soon as they are compared ,vith a third commodit.y, 
whose value has remained constant. If the values of all com- 
modities rose or fell Rimultaneously, and in the same proportion, 
their relative values ,vould remain unaltered. Their real 
change of value would appear from the diminished or increased 
quantity of commodities produced in a given time. 
IV. The labour time respectively necessary for the produc- 
tion of the linen and the coat, and therefore the value of theso 
commodities may simultaneously vary in the same direction, 
but at unequal rates, or in opposite directions, or in other 
ways. The effect of all these possible different variations, on 
the relative va] ue of a commodity, may be deduced from the 
results of 1, 11, and III. 
Thus real changes in the magnitude of value are neither 
unequivocally nor exhaustively reflected in their relative 
expression, that is, in the equation expressing the magnitude 
of relative value. The relative value of a commodity may 
vary, although its value remains constant. Its relative value 
rnay remain constant, altbough its value varies; and finaHy, 
simultaneous variations in the magnitude of valuð and in that 
of its relative expression by no means necessarily correspond 
in amount. 1 

1 This incongruity between the magnitude of value and it
 relative expression has, 
with customary ingenuity, been exploited by vulgar economists. For example- 
"Once admit that A falls, because H, with which it is exchanged, rises, while no le!lls 
labour is bestowed in the meantime on A, and your general principle of value falls to 
the ground. . . . If he [Ricardo] allowed that when A rises in value relatively to 
B, B falls in value relatively to A, he cut away the ground on which he rested his 
grand propo!llition, that the value of a commodity is ever determined by the labour 
embodied in it; for if a change in the cost of A alters not only its own value In rela- 
tion to B, for which it is exchanged, but also the value of B relatively to that of A, 
though no change has taken place in the quantity of labour to produce H, then not 
only the doctrine falls to the ground which asserts that the quantity of labour 
bestowed on an article regulates its value, but also that which affirms the cost of an 
article to regulate its value.)) (J. Broadhurst: Political Economy, London, 1842, p. 11 
a.nd 14.) 
Mr. Broadhurst might just as well say: consider the fractions !&, !-B-, -lrJtr, &c., 
the number 10 remains unchanged, and yet its proportional magnitude, its magnitude 


Caþitalist ProductzolZ. 

. The Equivalent form of value. 
We have seen that commodity A (the linen), by expressIng 
its value in the use-value of a commodity differing in kind 
(the coat), at the same time impresses upon the latter a specific 
form of value, nalnely that of the equivalent. The commodity 
linen manifests its quality of having a value by the fact that 
the- coat, without having assumed a value form different from 
its bodily form, is equated to the linen. The fact that the 
latter therefore has a value is expressed by saying that the 
coat is directly exchangeable with it. Therefore, when we say 
that a cm:nmodity is in the equivalent fonn, we express the 
fact that it is directly exchangeable \vith other comrrodities. 
'Vhen one comnlodity, such as a coat, serves as the equivalent 
of another, such as linen, and coats consequently acquire the 
characteristic property of being directly exchangeable with 
linen, we are far from knowing in what proportion the two are 
exchangeable. The value of the Hnen being given in magni- 
tude, that proportion depends on the value of the coat. 
\Vhether the coat servés as the equivalent and the linen as 
relative value, or the linen as the equivaJent and the coat as 
relative value, the Inagnitnde of the coat's yalue is determined, 
independently of its value form, by the labour tilne necessary 
for its proJuction. But ,vhenever the coat aSSUfi1es in the 
equation of value, the position of equivalent, its value acquires 
no quantitative expression; on the contrary, the commodity 
coat now figures only as a definite quantity of some article. 
For instance, 40 yards of linen are worth-what? 2 coats. 
Because the comrnodity coat here plays the part of equivalent, 
because the use-value Gloat, as opposed to the linen, figures as 
an en1bodiment of value, therefore a definite number of coats 
suffices to express the definite quantity of value in the linen. 
fl'wo coats nlay therefore express the quantity of value of 40 
yards of linen, but they can never express the quantity of their 
own value. A superficial observation of this fact, namely, tllat 
relatively to the numbers 20, [,0, 100, &c., continually diminishes. Therefore the 
great IJrinciple that the magnitude of a whole number, such as 10, is "regulated J' by 
the number of times unity is contained in it, falls to the ground.-[The author ex. 
vlains in section 4 of this chapter, p. 52, note 2, wbat he understands by "VuIga.1 
Ecollomy. " -Ed. J 



in the equation of value, the equivalent figures exclusively as 
a simple quantity of some article, of some use-value, has misled 
Bailey, as also Inany others, both before and after him, into 
seeing, in the expression of value, mere]y a quantitative relation. 
The truth being, that ,,"hen a conlmodity acts as equivalent. 
no quantitative determination of its value is expressed. 
The first peculiarity that strikes us, in considering the form 
of the equivalent, is this: use-value becomes the form of mani- 
festation, the phenomenal form of its opposite, value. 
The bodily form of the conlmodity becomes its value form. 
But, mark \\Tell, that this quid pro quo exists in the case of any 
commodity B, only when some other commodity A enters into 
a value relation ,vith it, and then only within the limits of this 
relation. Since no conlmodity can stand in the relation of 
equivalent to itself, and thus turn its o,vn bodily shape into 
the expression of its o\vn value, every commodity is compelled 
to choose some other commodity for its equivalent, and to accept 
the use-value, that is to say, the bodily shape of that other 
commodity as the form of its own value. 
One of the measures that we apply to commodities as material 
substances, as use-values, will serve to illustrate this point. A 
sugar-loaf being a body, is heavy, and tberefore has weight: 
but ,ve can neither see nor touch this weight. 'Ye then take 
various pieces of iron, w hose weight has been determined 
beforehand. The iron, as iron, is no more the form of manifes- 
tation of weight, than is the sugar-loaf. Nevertheless, in order 
to express the sugar-loaf as so nluch weight, we put it into a 
,v eight-relation ,vit.h the iron. In this relation, the iron 
()fficiates as a body representing nothing but ,veight. A certain 
quantity of iron therefore serves as the lneasure of the weight 
of the sugar, and represents, in relation to the sugar-loaf, 
\\reigbt embodied, the form of manifestation of weight. This 
part is played by the iron only WIthin this relation, into which 
th9 sugar or any other body, whose ,veight has to be determined, 
enters with the iron. "T ere they not both heavy, they could 
not enter into this relation, and the one could therefore not 
serve as the expression of the weight of the other. "\Vhen \ve 
throw both into the scales, we see in reality, that as weight 


CaPitalist Production. 

they are both the same, and that, therefore, when taken in 
proper proportions, they have the san1e weight. Just as the 
substance iron, as a measure of weight, represents in relation 
to the sugar-loaf weight alone, so, in our expression of value t 
the material object, coat, in relation to the linen, represents 
value alone. 
Here, however, the analogy ceases. The iron, in the ex- 
pression of the weight of the sugar-loaf, represents a natural pro- 
perty common to both bodies, namely their weight; but the coat, 
in the expression of value of the linen, represents a non-natural 
property of both, something purely social, namely, their value. 
Since the relative form of value of a commodity-the linen, 
for example-expresses the value of that commodity, as being 
something wholly different from its substance and properties, 
as being, for instance, coat-like, we see that this expression 
itself indicates that some social relation lies at the bottom of 
it. With the equivalent form it is just the contrary. The very 
essence of this form is that the material commodity itself-the 
coat-just as it is, expresses value, anù is endowed with the 
form of value by Nature itself: Of course this holds good only 
so long as the value relation exists) in which the coat stands in 
the position of equivalent to the linen. l Since, however, the 
properties of a thing are not the result of its relations to other 
things, but only manifest themselves in such relations, the 
coat seems to be endowed with its equivalent form, its property 
of being directly exchangeable, just as much by Nature as it is 
endowed with the property of being heavy, or the capacity to 
k:eep us warm. Hence the enigmatical character of the equiva- 
lent form which escapes the notice of the bourgeois political 
economist, until this form, completely developed, confronts him 
in the shape of money. He then seeks to explain away the 
mystical character of gold and silver, by substituting for thera 
less dazzling commodities, and by reciting, with ever renewed 
5atisfaction, the catalogue of all possible commodities which at . 
one time or another have played the part of equivalent. He has 
1 Such expressions of relations in general, called by Hegel reflex-categories, form a 
yery curious class. For insta.nce, one man is king only because other men stand in 
the relation of subjects to him. They, on the contrary, imagine that they nre sub- 
tecta because he is king. 

Co nznzodities. 


not the least suspicion that the most simple expression of value, 
such as 20 yds. of linen = 1 coat, already propounds the riddle 
of the equivalent form for our solution. 
The body of the commodity that serves as the equivalent, 
figures as the materialisation of human labour in the abstract, 
and is at the same time the product of some specifically useful 
concrete labour. This concrete labour, therefore, the 
medium for expressing abstract lUllnan labour. If on the 
one hand the coat ranks as nothing but the embodiment of 
abstract human labour, so, on the other hand, the tailoring 
which is actually embodied in it, counts as nothing but the 
form under which that abstract labour is realiscd. In the ex- 
pression of value of the linen, the utility of the tailoring COll- 
sists, not in making clothes, but in lnaking an object, which "Te 
at once recognise to be Value, and therefore to be a congelation 
of labour, but of labour indistinguishable from that realised in 
the value of the linen. Tn order to act as such a mirror of 
value, the labour of tailoring must reflect nothing besides its 
own abstract quality of being human labour generally. 
In tailoring, as wèll as in weaving, human labour-power is 
expended. Both, therefore, possess the general property of 
being human labour, and may, therefore, in certain cases, such 
as in the production of value, have to be considered under 
this aspect alone. There is nothing mysterious in this. But 
in tbe ex pression of value there is a complete turn of the 
tables. For instance, how is the fact to be expressed that 
weaving creates the value of the linen, not by virtue of being 
,veaving, as such, but by reason of its general property of being 
human labour 1 Simply by opposing to weaving that other 
particular form of concrete labour (in this instance tailoring), 
which produces the equivalent of the product of weaving. 
Just as the coat in its bodily form became a direct expression 
of value, so now does tailoring, a concrete for
 of labour. 
appear as the direct and palpable embodiment of human labour 
Hencb, tbe second peculiarity of the equivalent form is, that 
concrete labour becomes the form under which its opposite, 
abstract human labour, manifests itself. 


Caþitali$t Prodztctzon. 

But because this concrete labour, tailoring in our caðe, ranks 
as, and is directly identified with, undifferentiated human 
labour, it also ranks as identical with any other sort of labour, 
and therefore with that embodied in the linen. Consequently, 
although, like all other cOlIlmodity-producing labour, it is the 
labour of private individuals, yet, at the same time, it ranks as 
labour directly social in its character. This is the reason why 
it results in a product directly exchangeable with other com- 
lllodities. vVe have then a third peculiarity of the Equivalent 
form, namely, that the labour of private individuals takes the 
form of its opposite, labour directly social in its form. 
The t,vo latter peculiarities of the Equivalent form will 
become more intelligible if v{e go back to the great thinker 
who was the first to analyse so many forms, whether of 
thought, society, or nature, and amongst them also the form of 
value. I mean Aristotle. 
In the first place, he clearly enunciates that the money form 
of commodities is only the further development of the simple 
forlIl of value-i.e., of the expression of the yalue of one com- 
modity in some other commodity taken at randonl; for he says- 
5 beds = 1 house ("
,,,.l' ..í.'Ti t:i.'T2 ,,;,,;as) is not to be 
distinguished froln 
5 beds = so much money. 

(Ûl.í.a, III"'.T' å.'Tl . . . .fTOU al 9l'l.'T1 "''-;.0'') 

He further sees that the value relation \vhich gives rise to 
this expression rnakes it necessary that the house should quali- 
tatively be made the equal of the bed, and that, \vithout such 
an equalisation, these t,vo clearly different things could not be 
compared with each other as commensurable quantities. (( Ex- 
change," he says, "cannot take place without equality, and 
equality not without c0111mensurability" ("iJ'T" ;fTÓ'T'1S /J-
'U/J-/J-f'TpífZS). Here, ho\vever, he comes to a stop, and gives 
up the further analysis of the form of value. "It is, 
however, in reality, impossible ('T
 ,uì. où. å.À'1dtÍ'f å
ú.a'To.), that 
sucb unlike things can be commensurable "-i.e., qualita- 
tively equal. Such an equalisation can only be something 
foreign to their real nature, consequently only" a make-st ift 
for practical purposes." 



Aristotle therefore, himself, tells us, what barred the '\vay to- 
his further analysis; it was the absence of any concept of 
value. 'Vhat is that equal something, that cornmon substan
which admits of the value of the beds being expressed by a 
house? Such a thing, in truth, cannot exist, says Aristotle. 
And why not? Compared with the beds, the house does re- 
present something equal to them, in so far as it represents what 
is really equal, both in the beds and the house. And that is- 
hUlnan labour. 
There was, however, an important fact which prevented 
Aristotle from seeing that, to attribute value to commodities, is 
merely a mode of expressing all labour as equal human labour
and consequently as labour of equal quality. Greek society 
,vas founded upon slavery, and had, therefore, for its natural 
basis, the inequality of men and of their labour po\vers. The 
secret of the expression of value, namely, that all kinds of 
labour are equal and equivalent, because, and so far as they 
are human labour in general, cannot be deciphered, until the 
notion of human equality has already acquired the fixity of a 
popular prejudice. This, however, is possible only in a society 
in which the great mass of the produce of labour takes the form 
of commodities, in which, consequently, the dominant relation 
bet\veen man and man, is that of owners of commodities. The 
brilliancy of Aristotle's genius is shown by this alone, that he 
discovered, in the expression of the value of commodities, a 
re]ation of equality. The pecuìiar conditions of the society in 
,vhich he lived, alone prevented him from di
ring ,vhat
"in truth," was at the bottom of this equality. 

4. The Elementary form of value conside'}'ed as a whole. 
The elementary form of value of a commodity is contained 
in the equation, expressing its value relation to another conl- 
moc1ity of a different kind, or in its exchange relation to the 
same. The value of commodity A, is qualitatively expressed, 
by the fact that commodity B is directly exchangeable with it. 
Its value is quantitatively expressed by the fact, that a definite 
quantity of B is exchangeable with a definite quantity of A. 
In other words, the value of a commoùity obtains independent 

3 0 

Caþztallst Pl'oduction. 

and definite expression, by taking the form of exchange value. 
When, at the beginning of this chapter, we sairl, in common 
parlance, that a commodity is both a use-value and an ex- 
change value, we were, accurately speaking, ,vrong. A com- 
modity is a use-value or object of utility, and a value. It 
Inanifests itself as this two-fold thing, that it is, as soon as its 
)Talue assumes an independent form-viz., the form of exchange 
value. It never assumes this form when isolated, but only 
,vhen placed in a value or exchange relation with another 
commodity of a different kind. When once we know this, 
such a mode of expression does no harm; it simply serves as 
an abbreviation. 
Our analysis has shown, that the form or expression of the 
value of a commodity originates in the nature of value, and 
not. that value and its magnitude originate in the mode of 
their expression as exchange value. This, ho
vever, is the 
delusion as wen of the mercantilists and their recent revivors, 
Ferrier, Ganilh,1 and others, as also of their antipodes, the 
Inodern bagmen of Free Trade, such as Bastiat. The mercan- 
tilists lay special stress on the qualitative aspect of the 
expression of value, and consequently on the equivalent form 
of commodities, which attains its full perfection in money. 
The modern hawkers of Free Trade, who must get rid of their 
article at any price, on the other hand, lay most stress on the 
quantitative aspect of the relative form of value. For them 
there consequently exists neither value, nor magnitude of 
value, anywhere except in its expression by rneans of the 
exchange relation of commodities, that is, in the daily list of 
prices current. MacLeod, who has taken upon himself to 
dress up the confused ideas of Lombard Street in the most 
learned finery, is a successful cross between the superstitious 
nlercantilists, and the enlightened Free Trade baglnen. 
A close scrutiny of the expression of the value of A in terms 
of B, contained in the equation expressing the value re]ation of 
A to B, has sho\vn us that, within that relation, the bodily form 

1 F. L. A. Ferrier, sous-inspecteur des douanes, "Du gouvernement considéré dana 
.es r rapports avec Ie commerce," Paris, 1805.: and Charles Ganilh, "Des Systèmes 
d'Economie politique," 2nd ed., Paris, 1821. 


3 1 

()f .A figures only as a use-value, the bodily fornl of B only as 
the form or aspect of value. The opposition or contrast 
existing internally in each commodity bet\veen use-value Rnd 
value, is, therefore, made evident externally by two COID- 
moditic9 being placed in t)uch relation to each other, that the 
commodity whose value it is 
ought to expre:S:i, figures directly 
as a mere use-valuc, while the COllllliOJity in \\ hich that value 
is to be exprc
sed, figures directly as mere exchange value. 
Hence the elementary form of value of a commoJity is the 
elementary form in which the contrast containeJ in that 
cOlumodity, between use-value and value, becomes apparent. 
Every product of labour is, in all states of society, a use- 
value; but it is only at a definite historical epoch in a 
àeveloprnent that 
uch a product becomes a commodity, viz.. 
at the epoch when the labour spent on the production of Ii. 
uHeful article becomes expressed as one of the objective 
qualities of that article, i.e., as its value. It therefore follovrs 
that the elementary value-form is also the primitive fonn 
under which a product of labour appears historically as a 
commodity, and that the gradual transformation of such 
products into comnlodities, proceeds pari passu with the 
development of the value form. 
\Ve perceive, at first sight, the deficiencies of the elementary 
form of value: it is a mere germ, which must undergo a serieb 
of metamorphoses before it can ripen into the Price-form. 
The expression of the value of commodity A in terms of any 
other conlmoJity B, merely distinguishes the value from the 
use-value of A, and therefore places.A merely in a relation of 
exchange with a single different commodity, B; but it i
far from expressing ....t\..'s qualitative equality, and quantitative 
proportionality, to all commodities. To the eleme1.tary relative 
value-form of a commodity, there corresponds the single equi- 
valent form of one other commodity. Thus, in the relative 
expression of value of the linen, the coat assumes the form of 
equivalent, or of being directly exchångeable, only in rela.tion 
to a single commodity, the linen. 
N evertheless, th
 elementary form of value passes by an easy 
transition into a more con1plete form. It is true that 1 y lllcans 

3 2 

Lapita/is! Producti01t. 

of the elementary form, the value of a commodity A, becomoo 
expressed in terms of one, and only one, other commodity. 
But that one may be a commodity of any kind, coat, iron, corn, 
or anything else. Therefore, according as A is placed in rela- 
tion with one or the other, we get for one and the same com- 
modity, different elementary expressions of value. 1 The number 
of such possible expressions is liInited only by the number of 
the different kinds of commodities distinct from it. The 
isolated expression of A's value, is therefore convertible into a 
series, prolonged to any length, of the different elementary ex- 
pressions of that value. 

B. Total 01' Et
panded fo'r1ì
 of ,,-'alue. 
z Com. A=u Com. B or=v Com. C or=,v COIn. D o r- x Com. 
E or=&c. 
(20 yards of linen=l coat 0 1'- 10 lb tea 01'=40 lb coffee 01'= 
1 quarter corn 01'=2 ounces gold or=
 ton iron or=&c.) 

1. The Expanded Relative for'tn of value. 
The value of a single commodity, the linen, for example, is 
now expressed in terms of numberless other elements of the 
world of commodities. Every other commodity now becomes 
a mirror of the linen's value. 2 It is thus, that for the first time, 

1 In Homer, for instance, the value of an article is expressed in a. series of different 
things. II. VII. 472-475. 
2 For this reason, we can speak of the coat-value of the linen when itg value is ex- 
pressed in coats. or of its corn-value when expressed in corn, and 80 on. Every such 
expression tells UB, that what appears in the use-values, coat, corn, &c., is the value 
of the linen. "The value of any commodity ùenoting its relation in exchange, we 
may speak of it as . . . corn-value, cloth-value, according to the commodity with 
which it is compared; and hence there are a thousand different kinds of value, as many 
kinds of value as th'ere are commoditips in existence, and all are equally real and 
equally nominal." (A Critical Dissertation on the Nature, :Measure and Causes of 
Value: chiefly in reference to the writings of :Mr. Ricardo and his followers. By the 
author of U Essays on the Formation, &c., of Opinions." London, 1825, p. 39). S. 
Bailey, the author of this anonymous work, a work which in its day created much 
..tir in England, fancied that, by thus pointing out the various relative expressions of 
one and the same value, he had proved the impossibility of any determination of the 
concept of value. However narrow his own views may have been, yet, that he lrid 
his finger on some 
erious defects in the Ricardian Theory, is proved by the animosity 
with which he was attacked by Ricardo'8 followers. See the Wf3tminster Renew for 



this value shows itself in its true light as a congelation of un- 
differentiated human labour. For the labour that creates it, 
now stands expressly revealed, as labour that ranks equally 
with every other sort of human labour, no mattpr \vhat its 
form, whether tailoring, pluughing, mining, &c., and no Illattcr, 
therefore, whether it is realised in coats, corn, iron, or gold. 
The linen, by virtue of the form of its value, now stanJ:i in a. 
social relation, no longer with only one other ki nd of com- 
modity, but with the whole world of commodities. As a 
commodity, it is a citizen of that world. At the saHie tinle, 
the interminable series of value equations implies, that as re- 
gards the value of a commodity, it is a matter of in.. 
difference under what particular form, or kind, of use-value it 
In the first form, 20 yds. of linen = 1 coat, it might, for ought 
that otherwise appears, be pure accident, that these two com- 
modities are exchangeable in definite quantit.ies. In the second 
form, on the contrary, we perceive at once the background that 
determines, and is essentially different from, this accidental 
appearance. The value of the linen remains unalterell in mag- 
nitude, ,vhether expressed in coats, coffee, or iron, or in num- 
berless different commodities, the property of as many 
different owners. rrhe accidental relation between two in- 
dividual commodity-owners disappears. It becomes plain, that 
it is not the exchange of commodities "which regulates the 
magnitude of their value; but, on the contrary, that it is the 
magnitude of their value which controls their exchange 

2. The particular Equivalent form. 
Each commodity, such a
, coat, tea, corn, iron, &c., figures in 
tbe expression of value of the linen, as an equivalent, and, con- 
sequently, as a thing that is value. The bodily fOI1ll of each 
of these commodities figures now as a particular equivalent 
form, one out of many. In the same way the manifold concrete 
useful kinds of labour, embodied in these different commodities, 
rank now as so many different forms of the realisation, or mani 
festation, of undifferentiated human labour. 

Caþztalz'st ProductiOlt. 
3. Defects of the Total or Expanded forn}, of value. 
In the first place, the relative expression of value is incomplete 
because the series representing it is interminable. The chain 
of which each equation of value is a link, is liable at any 
moment to be lengthened by each new kind of commodity that 
comes into existence and furnishes the material for a fresh 
expression of value. In the second place, it is a many- 
coloured mosaic of disparate and independent expressions 
of value. And ]astly, if, as must be the case, the relative value 
of each commodity in turn, becomes expressed in this ex- 
panded form, we get for each of them a relative value-form, 
different in every case, and consisting of an interminable 
series of expressions of value. The defects of the expanded 
relative-value form are reflected in the corresponding equiva- 
lent form. Since the bodily form of each single commodity is 
one particular equivalent form amongst numberless others, we 
have, on the whole, nothing but fragmentary equivalent forms, 
each excluding the others. In the same way, also, the special, 
concrete, useful kind of labour embodied in each particular 
equivalent, is presented only as a particular kind of labour, 
and therefore not as an exhaustive representative of human 
labour generally. The latter, indeed, gains adequate manifes- 
tation in the totality of its manifold, particular, concrete forms. 
But, in that case, its expression in an infinite series is ever 
incolnplete and deficient in unity. 
The expanded relative value-form is, however, nothing but 
the sum of the elementary re1ative expressions or equations of 
the first. kind, such as 
20 yards of linen = 1 coat 
20 yards of linen = 10 Ibs. of tea, etc. 
Each of these irnplies the corresponding inverted equation, 
1 coat = 20 yards of linen 
101bs. of tea = 20 yards of linen, etc. 
In fact, when a person exchanges his linen for many other 
commodities, and thus expresses its value in a series of other 
commodities, it necessarily follows, that the various owners of 
the latter exchange them for the linen, and consequently express 





the value of their various con1modities in one and the same 
third commoditYJ the linen. If then, we reverse the series, 20 
yards of linen = 1 coat or = 10 Ibs. of tea, etc., that is to say, 
if we give expression to the converse relation already implierl 
in the series, we get, 
C. The General form of value. 

1 coat 
10 lbs. of tea 
40 lbs. of coffee 
1 quarter of corn 
2 ounces of gold 
! a ton of iron 
x COIn. A., etc. 

= 20 yards of linen 

1. Tile altered character of the form of 1.,'alue. 
All commodities now express their value (1) in an elementary 
form, because in a single commodity; (2) with unity, because in 
one and the same commodity. This form of value is elementary 
and the same for all, therefore general. 
The for111
 A and B were fit only to express the value of a 
commodity as something distinct from its use-value or material 
The first form, A, furnishes such equations as the following :- 
1 coat = 20 yards of linen, 10 Ibs. of tea = ! ton of iron. 
The value of the coat is equated to linen, that of the tea to 
iron. But to be equated to Jinen, and again to iron, is to be as 
different as are linen and iron. This form, it is plain, occurs 
practically only in the first beginning, when the products of 
labour are converted into commodities by accidental and 
occasional exchan
The second form, H, distinguishes, in a more adequate manner 
than the first, the value of a commodity from its use-value; for 
the value of the coat is there placed in contrast under all 
possible shapes .with the bodily form of the coat; it is equated 
to linen, to iron, to tea, in short, to everything else, only not to 
itself, the coat. On the other hand, any general expression of 
-vallIe common to all is directly excluded; for, in the equation 
of value 
f each commodity, all other commodities now appear 

3 6 

Capital'ist Production. 

only under tbe form of equivalents. The expanded form of 
value come:i into actual existence for the first time so Boon as 
a particular product of labour, such as cattle, is no longer 
exceptionally, but habitually, exchanged for various other 
commodi ties. 
The third and lastly developed form expresses the values of 
the whole world of commodities in terms of a single commodity 
set apart for the purpose, namely, the linen, and thus represents 
to us their values by means of their equality with linen. The 
value of every commodity is no\v, by being equated to linen, 
not only differentiated from its own use-value, but from all 
other use-values generally, and is, by that very fact, expressed 
as that which is common to all commodities. By this form, 
commodities are, for the first time, effectively brought intO' 
relation with one another as values, or made to appear as 
exchange values. 
The two earlier forms either express the value of each COlll- 
modity in terms of a single commodity of a different kind, or 
in a series of many such commodities. In both cases, it is, so 
to say, the special business of each single commodity to find an 
expression for its value, and this it does without the help 01 
the others. These others, with respect to the former, play the 
passive part
 of equivalents. The general form of value, 0, 
results from the joint action of the whole world of commodities, 
and from that alone. A commodity can acquire a general expre3- 
sion of its value only by all other commodities, simultaneously 
with it, expressing their values in the same equivalent; and 
every ne\v commodity must follow suit. It thus becomes 
evident that, since the existence of commodities as values i
purely social, this social existence can be expressed by the.. 
totality of their social relations alone, and consequentls 
that the form of their value must be a socially recognised 
All comlTIodities being equated to linen now appear not only 
as qualitatively equal as values generally, but also as values 
whose magnitudes are capable of comparison. By expressing 
the magnitudes of their values in one anù the same material
the linen, those magnitudes are also compared with each other. 



For instance, 10 lbs. of tea = 20 yards of linen, and 401bs. of 

offee = 20 yards of linen. Therefore, 10 lbs. of tea = 40 lbs. 
of coffee. In other words, there is contained in 1 lb. of cofiee 
only one-fourth as much substance of yalue-Iabour-as is con- 
tained in 1 lb. of tea. 
The general form of relative value, embracing the whole 
world of commodities, convertg the single commodity that is 
-excluded from the rest, and made to play the part of equivalent 
- here the linen-into the universal equivalent. The boùily 
form of the linen is now the form assumed in common by the 
values of all commodities; it therefore becomes directly 
exchangeable with all and every of them. The substance 
linen becomes the visible incarnation, the social chrysalis state 
.of every kind of human labour. "\Veaving, ,vhich is the labour 
()f certain private individuals producing a particular article, linen, 
acquires in conseq uence a social character, the character of 
equality with all other kinds of labour. The innumerable 
equations of which the general form of value is composed, 
equate in turn the labour embodied in the linen to that em- 
bodied in every other commodity, and they thus convert 
weaving into the general form of manifestation of undiffer- 
-entiated human labour. In this manner the labour realised in 
the values of conlmodities is presented not on]y under its 
negative aspect, under which abstraction is made from every 
concrete form and useful property of actual .,vork, but 
its own positive nature is made to reveal itself expressly. 
The general value-form is the reduction of all kinds of 
actual labour to their common character of being human 
labour generally, of being the expenditure of human labour 
The general value form, which represents all products of 
labour as mere congelations of undifferentiated human labour, 
shows by its very structure that it is the social resumé of the 
,vorld of commodities. That form consequently makes it 
indisputably evident that in the world of commodities the 
character possessed by all labour of being human labour 
constitutes its specific social character. 

3 8 

Caþitalist ProductiolZ 

2. The interdeperulent developrnent of tlte Relative form of tJalue þ 
and of the Equivalent form. 
The degree of development of the relative form of value 
corresponds to that of the equivalent form. But we must bear 
in mind that the development of the latter is only the expres- 
sion and result of the development of the former. 
The primary or isolated relati ve form of value of one 
commodity converts some other commodity into an isolated 
equivalent. The expanded form of relative value, which is the 
expression of the value of one commodity in terms of all other 
commodities, endows those other commodities with the character 
of particular equivalents differing in kind. And lastly, a 
particular kind of commodity acquires the character of 
universal equivalent, because all other con1modities make it the 
material in which they uniformly express their value. 
The antagonism between the relative form of value and the 
equivalent form, the two poles of the value form, is developed 
concurrently with that form itself. 
The first form, 20 yds. of linen = one coat, already contains 
this antagonism, without as yet fixing it. According as we 
read this equation forwards or backwards, the parts played by 
the Hnen and the coat are different. In the one case the 
relative value of the linen is expressed in the coat, in thE} 
other case the relative value of the coat is expressed in the 
linen. In this first form of value, therefore, it is difficult to 
grasp the polar contrast. 
Form B shows that only one single commodity at a time can 
completely expand its relative value, and that it acquires this 
expanded form only because, and in so far as, aU other com- 
modities are, with respect to it, equivalents. Here we cannot 
}'everse the equation, as we can the equation 20 yds. of lin en = 
1 coat, without altering its general character, and converting 
it from the expanded form of value into the general form of 
Finally, the form C gives to the world of commodities a 
general social relative form of value, because, and in so far as, 
thereby all commodities, with the exception of one, are excluded 



from the equivalent form. A single commodity, tl1e linen, 
appears therefore to have t1cquired the character of direct ex- 
changeability with every other commodity because, and in so 
far as, this character is denied to every other commodity.1 
The commodity that figures as universal equivalent, is, on 
the other hand, excluded from the relative value form. If the 
linen, or any other comn1odity serving as universal equivalent, 
were, at the same time, to share in the relative form of value, 
it would have to serve as its own equivalent. 'Ve should then 
have 20 yds. of linen = 20 yds. of Hnen; this tautologyex- 
presses neither value, nor magnitude of value. In order to 
express the relative value of the universal equivalent, 
re must 
rather reverse the form C. This equivalent has no relative 
form of value in common with other commodities, but its value 
is relatively expressed by a never ending series of other com- 
modities. Thus, the expanded form of relative value, or form 
B, now shows it'3elf as the specific form of relative value for the 
equivalent commoàity. 

3. Transition f1'om the General form of value to the 
ftfoney forrn. 
The universal equivalent form is a form of value in general. 
It can, therefore, be assumed by any cOlnmodity. On the 
other hand, if a c01l1modity be found to have assumed the 
universal equivalent form (form C), this is only because and 

1 It is by no means self-evident that this character of direct and universal ex- 
changeability is, 50 to speak, a polar one, and as intimately connected with its opposite 
pole, the absence of direct exchangeability, as the positive pole of tJ)e magnet is with 
its negative counterpart. It may therefore be ima
ned that all commodities can 
simultaneously have this character impressed upon them, just as it can be imagined 
that all Catholics can be popes together. It is, of course. highly desirable in the eyes 
of the petit bourgeois, for whom the production of commoditics is the ne plus ultra. 
of human freedom and individual independence, that the inconveniences resulting 
from thi. character of commodities not being directly exchangeable, should be re- 
moved. Proudhon's .ocialism i. a working out of this Philistine Utopia, a form of 
Bociali.m wbich, all I have elsewhere shown, does not possess even the merit of origin- 
ality. Long before bis time, the task was attempted with much better success by 
Gray, Bray, and others. But, for all that, wisdom of this kind flourishes even now 
in certain circles under the name of U science." Never has any school played more 
tricks with the word science, than that of Proudhon, for 
" wo Begriffe fehlen 
Da stéllt zur rechten Zeit ein Wort sich ein." 


4 0 

Caþitalzs! ProductzõlZ. 

in so far as it has been excluded from the rest of all other 
commodities as their equivalent, and that by their own act. 
And from the moment that this exclusion becomes finally 
restricted to one particular commodity, from that moment only, 
the general form of relative value of the world of commodities 
obtains real consistence and general social validity. 
The particular commodity, with whose bodily form the 
equivalent form is thus socially identified, no,v becomes the 
money commodity, or serves as money. It becomes the special 
social function of that commodity, and consequently its social 
monopoly, to play within the world of commodities the part of 
the universal equivalent. Amongst the commodities which, in 
form B, figure as particular equivalents of the linen, and, in 
form 0, express in common their relative values in linen, this 
foremost place has been attained by one in particular-namely, 
gold. If, then, in form 0 we replace the linen by gold, we get, 

D. The Money form. 
20 yards of linen 
1 coat 
10 fu ot tea 
40 fu of coffee 
1 qr. of corn 
! a ton of iron 
x cOIDrnodity A 

2 ounces of gold. 

In passing from form A to form B, and from the latter to 
form 0, the changes are fundamental. On the other hand, 
there is no difference between forms C and D, except that, in 
the ]atter, gold has assumed the equivalent form in the place 
of lin en. Gold is in form D , what linen was in form C-the 
universal equivalent. The progress consists in this alone, that 
the character of direct and universal exchangeability-in other 
words, that the universal equivalent form-has no\v, by socia] 
custom, become finally identified with the substance, gold. 
Gold is now money with reference to all other commodities 
only because it was previously, with reference to them, a 
simple commodity. Like all other commodities, it was also 


4 1 

capable of serving as an equivalent, either as simple equivalent 
in isolated exchanges, or as particulal equivalent by the side 
of others. Gradually it began to serve, within varying limits, 
as universal equivalent. So soon as it monopolises this posi- 
tion in the expression of value for the ,vorld of commodities, 
it becomes the money cOlnmodity, and then, and not till the;n, 
does form D become distinct from form C, and the general 
form of value become changed into the money form. 
The elementary expression of the relative value of a single 
commodity, such as linen, in terms of the c01l1moJity, such as 
gold, that plays the part of money, is the price form of that 
COlllffiodity. The price form of the linen is therefore 
20 yards of linen = 2 ounces of gold, or, if 2 ounces of gold 
when coined are ;E2, 2.0 yards of linen = ;E2. 
The difficulty in forming a concept of the money form, con- 
sists in clearly comprehending the universal equivalent fonD, 
and as a necessary corollary, the general form of value, form C. 
The la.tter is deducible from form B, the expanded form of 
value, the essential component element of which, we saw, is 
form A, 20 yards of linen = 1 coat or x commodity A = y com- 
modity B. The sin1ple commodity form is therefore the germ 
of the money form. 


A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and 
easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a 
very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and 
theological niceties. So far as it is a value in use, there is 
nothing mysterious about it, ,vhether we consider it from the 
point of view that by its properties it is capable of satisfying 
11 uman wants, or from the point that those properties are the 
product of human labour. It is as clear as noon-day, that man, 
by his industry, changes the forms of the materials furnished 
by natut'e, in suoh a way as to make them useful to him. The 
form of wood, for instance, is altered, by making a table out of 
it. Yet, for all that the table continues to be that common, 

4 2 

Caþitalist Production. 

every-day thing, wood. But, so soon as it steps forth as a 
commodity, it is changed into something transcendent. It not 
only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all 
other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its 
wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than (C table- 
turning" ever was. 
The mystical character of commoùities does not originate, 
therefore, in their use-value. Just as littJe does it proceed from 
the natu:re of the determining factors of value. For, in the 
first place, however varied the useful kinds of labour, or pro- 
ductive activities, may be, it is a physiological fact, that they 
are functions of the human organism, and that each such func- 
tion, whatever may re its nature or form, is essentially the ex- 
penditure of human brain, nerves, muscles, &c. Secondly, with 
regard to that which forms the ground-work for the quantitative 
determination of value, namely, the duration of that expendi- 
ture, or the qus.ntity of labour, it is quite clear that there is a 
palpable difference between its quantity and quality. In all 
states of society, the labour-time that it costs to produce the 
means of subsistence, must necessarily be an object of interest 
to mankind, though not of equal interest in different stages of 
development. l And lastly, from the moment that men in any 
way work for one another, their labour assumes a social form. 
Whence, then, arises the enigmatical character of the product 
of labour, so soon as it assumes the form of commodities? 
Clea.rly from this form itself. The equality of aU sorts of 
human labour is expressed objectively by their products all 
being equally values; the measure of the expenditure of labour- 
power by the duration of that expenditure, takes the form of 
the quantity of value of the products of labour; and finally, 
the mutual relations of the producers, ,vi thin which the social 
character of their labour affirms itself, take the form of a 
social relation between the products. 
A commodity is therefore a mysterious thing, simpJy because 
in it the social character of men's labour appears to them as an 
1 Among the ancient Germans the unit for measuring land was what could be 
ha.rvested in a day, and was called Tagwerk, Tagwanne (jurnale, or terra jurnalis, or 
diornalis), :r,Iannsmaad, &c. (See G. I.J. yon Maurer Einleitung zur Geschichte del' 
Mark-, &c. Verfassung, l'rIünchen, 1859, p. 129-59.) 

C 0l1l1Jlodities. 


objective character stamped upon the product of that labour; 
because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their 
own labour is presented to them as a social relation, existing 
not between themselves, but between the products of their 
labour. This is the reason why the products of labour become 
commodities, social things whose qualities are at the sanle time 
perceptible and imperceptible by the senses. In the same way 
the light from an object is perceived by us not as the subjective 
excitation of our optic nerve, but as the objective forin of 
something outside the eye itself. But, in the act of seeing, 
there is at all events, an actual passage of light from one thing 
to another, from the external object to the eye. There is a. 
ph:rsical relation between physIcal things. But it is different 
with commodities. There, the existence of the things qllâ 
commodities, and the value relation between the products of 
labour which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no 
connection with their physical properties and with the material 
relations arising therefrom. There it is a definite social rela- 
tion between men, that aSSU111es, in their eyes, the fantastic 
form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find 
an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions 
of the religious world. In that world the productions of the 
human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, 
and entering into relation both with one another and the human 
race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products 
of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself 
to the products of labour, so soon as they are produced as com- 
modities, and which is therefore inseparable from the produc- 
tion of cOIDlllodities. 
This Fetishism of commodities has its origin, as the fore- 
going analysis has already shown, in the peculiar social 
character of the la110ur that produces them. 
Å;; a general rule, articles of utility become commodities, ònly 
'because they are products of the labour of private individuals 
or groups of individuals who carry on their work independently 
of e
h other. The sum total of the labour of all these private 
inålviduals forms the aggregate labour of society. Since the 
nroducers do not come into social contact with each other until 


Caþitalist Production. 

they exchange their products, the specific social charactor of 
.each producer's labour does not show itself except in the act of 
-exchange. In other words, the labour of tbe individual asserts 
itself as a part of the labour of society, only by means of the 
relations which the act of exchange establishes directly bet\veen 
the products, and indirectly, through them, between the pro- 
.ducers. To the latter, therefore, the relations connecting the 
labour of one individual with that of the rest appear, not as 
direct socia] relations between individuals at work, but as what 
they really are, material relations between persons and social 
relations bet,veen things. It is only by being exchanged that 
the products of labour acquire, as values, one uniforrn social 
status, distinct from their varied forms of existence as objects 
of utility. This division of a product into a useful thing and 
It value becomes practically important, only when exchange 
has acquired such an extension that useful articles are produced 
for the purpose of being exchanged, and their character as 
values has therefore to be taken into account, beforehand, 
.during production. From this moment the labour of the 
individual producer acquires socially a two-fold character. On 
the one band, it must, as a definite useful kind of labour, 
satisfy a definite social ,vant, and thus hold its place as part 
and parcel of the collective labour of all, as a branch of a social 
division of labour that has sprung up spontaneously. On the 
other hand, it can satisfy the manifold wants of the individual 
producer himself, only in so far as the mutual exchangeability 
-of all kinds of useful private labour is an established social fact, 
and therefore the private useful labour of each producer ranks 
on an equality with that of all others. The equalisation of the 
most different kinds of labour can be the result only of an 
abstraction ii'om their inequalities, or of reducing them to 
their common denominator, viz., expenditure of human labour 
power or human labour in the abstract. The two-fold doclal 
,character of the labour of the individual appear.s to him, when 
reflected in his brain, only under those forms which are im- 
pressed upon that labour in everyday practice by the exchange 
.of products. In this way, the character that his own labour 
possesses of being socially useful takes the form oftbe condition, 



that .the product must be not only useful, but useful for others, 
and the social character that his particular labour has of being 
tho equal of all other particular kinds of labour, takes the form 
that all the physically different articles that are the products 
of labour, have one COlnmon quality, viz., that of having value.. 
Hence, when we bring the products of our labour into rela.. 
tion with each other as values, it is not because we see in these 
articles the material receptacles of homogeneous human labour. 
Quite the contrary: whenever, by an exchange, we equate as 
values our different products, by that very act, we also equate, 
as human labour, the different kinds of labour expended upon 
them. We are not aware of this, nevertheless we do it. 1 
'T alue, therefore, does not stalk about with a label describing 
wbat it is. It is value, rather, that converts every proùuct 
into a social hieroglyphic. Later on, we try to decipher the 
hieroglyphic, to get behind the secret of our o\vn social pro- 
ducts; for to stamp an object of utility as a value, is just as 
much a social product as language. The recent scientific dis- 
covery, that the products of labour, so far as they are va]ues, 
are but material expressions of the human labour spent in 
their production, marks, indeed, an epoch in the history of the 
development of the hunlan race, but, by no means, dissipates 
the mist through which the social character of labour appears 
to us to be an objective character of the products themselves. 
The fact, that in the particular form of production with which 
we are dealing, viz., the production of commodities, the specific 
social character of private labour carried on independently, 
consists in the equality of every kind of that labour, by virtue 
of its being human labour, which character, therefore, assumes 
in the product the fonn of value-tbis fact appears to the 
producers, notwithstanding the discovery above referred to, 
to be just as real and final, as the fact, that, after the discovery 
by science of the component gases of air, the atmosphere itself 
remained unaltered. 
What, first of all, practicany concerns producers when they 
1 When, therefore, Galiani says: Value is a relation between persons-" La 
Ricchezza. è una ragione trs. due persone,"-he ought to have aùded: a relation be- 
tween persons expressed as a relation between things. (Galia ni: Della Moneta, p. 
221, V. III of Custodi's collection of " Scrittol'i Classici Italiani di Economia Poli- 
tica-. " Parte 
Ioderna, Milano, 1803) 

4 6 

Caþitalist P1'oductZ'01Z. 

make an exchange, is the question, how much of some other 
product they get for their own 1 in what proportions the pro- 
ducts are exchangeable 1 When these proportions have, by 
custom, attained a certain stability, they appear to result from 
the nature of the products, so that, for instance, one ton of iron 
and two ounces of gold appear as naturally to be of equal value 
as a pound of gold and a pound of iron in spite of their 
different physical and chemical qualities appear to be of equal 
weight. The character of having value, when once impressed 
upon products, obtains fixity only by reason of their acting and 
re-acting upon each other as quantities of value. These 
quantities vary continually, independently of the will, fore- 
sight and action of the producers. To them, their own social 
action takes the form of the action of objects, which rule the 
producers instead of being ruled by them. It requires a fully 
developed production of commodities before, from accumulated 
experience alone, the scientific conviction springs up, that all 
the different kinds of private labour, wbich are carried on in- 
dependently of each other, and yet as spontaneously developed 
branches of the social division of labour, are continually being 
reduced to the quantitative proportions in which society re- 
quires them. And why 1 .Because, in the midst of all the 
accidental and ever fluctuating exchango-relations between 
the products, the labour-time socially necessary for their pro- 
duction forcibly asserts itself like an over-riding law of nature. 
The law of gravity thus asserts itself when a house falls about 
our ears.! The determination of the magnitude of value by 
labour-time is therefore a secret, hidden under the apparent 
fluctuations in the relative values of commodities. Its dis- 
covery, while removing all appearance of mere accidentality 
from the deterIllination of the magnitude of the values of 
products, yet in no way alters the mode in which that 
determination takes place. 
Man't::; reflections on the forms of social life, and consequently, 
1 "What are we to think of a law that aSl:!crts itself only by periodical revolu- 
tions? It is just nothing but a law of Nature, founded on the want of knowledge of 
those whose action is the subject of it." (Friedrich Engels: Umrisse zu einer Kritik 
der Nation 'lökonomie;' i
 the" Deutsch-franzõsische Jahrbücher," edited by Arnold 
Ruge and Karl :Marx. Paris, 1844.) 

C 01llJlzodit zes. 


also, his scientific analysis of those forms, take a course directly 
opposite to that of their actual historical development. He 
begins, post festum, with the results of the process of develop- 
ment ready to band before him. The characters that stamp 
products as commodities, and whose establishment is a necessary 
preliminary to the circulation of commodities, have already 
acquired the stability of natural, self-understood forms of social 
life, before man seeks to decipher, not their historical cl1aracter, 
for in his eyes they are immutable, but their meaning. 
Consequently it was the analysis of the prices of commodities 
that alone led to the determination of the magnitude of value, 
and it was the common expression of all commodities in money 
that alone led to the establishment of their characters as value&. 
It is, however, just this ultimate money form of the world of 
commodities that actually conceals, instead of disclosing, the 
social character of private labour, and the social relations 
bet\veen the individual producers. When I state that coats or 
boots stand in a relation to linen, because it is the universal 
íncarnation of abstract human labour, the absurdity of the 
statement is self-evident. Nevertheless, when the producers of 
coats and boots compare those articles with linf'n, or, what is 
the sanle thing, ,vith gold or silver, as the universal equivalent, 
they express the relation between their own private labour anrt 
the collective labour of society in the same absurd form. 
The categories of bourgeois economy consist of such like 
forms. 'rlley are forms of thought expressing with social 
validjty the conditions and relations of a definite, historically 
deterlnined mode of production, viz., the production of com- 
modities. The ,vhole mystery of commodities, all the magic 
and necromancy that surrounds the products of labour as long 
as they take the form of commodities, vanishes therefore, so 
soon as we come to other forms of production. 
Since Robinson Crusoe's experiences are a favourite theme 
with political economists,l let us take a look at him on his 

1 Even Ricardo has his stories à la Robinson. " He makes the primiti ve hunter and 
the primitive fisher straightway, a.s owners of commodities, exchange fish and game in 
the propo
 tion in which labour-time is incorporated in these exchange values. On 
this occasion he commits the anachronism of making these men apply to the calcula- 
tion, so far as their implements have to be taken into account, the annuity tables ÏD 

4 8 

Caþitalist Production. 


island. Moderate though he be, yet some few wants he has to 
satisfy, and must therefore do a little useful work of various 
sorts, such as making tools and furniture, talning goats, fishing 
and hunting. Of his prayers ani], the like we take no account, 
since they are a source of pleasure to him, and he looks upon 
them as so much recreation. In spite of the variety of his 
work, he knows that his labour, whatever its form, is but the 
activity of one and the same Robinson, and consequently, that 
it consists of nothing but different modes of human labour. 
Necessity itself compels him to apportion his time accurately 
between his different kinds of work. Whether one kind 
occupies a greater space in his general activity than another, 
depends on the difficulties, greater or less as the case may be, 
to be overcome in attaining the useful effect aimed at. This 
our friend Robinson soon learns by experience, and having 
rescued a watch, ledger, and pen and ink from the wreck, 
commences, like a true-born Briton, to keep a set of books. 
I-lis stock-book contains a list of the objects of utility that 
belong to him, of the operations necessary for their production; 
and lastly, of the labour time that definite quantities of those 
objects have, on an average, cost him. All the relations 
between Robinson and the objects that form this wealth of his 
own creation, are here so simple and clear as to be intelligible 
without exertion, even to Mr. Sedley Taylor. And yet those 
relations contain all that i8 essential to the determination of 
val u e. 
Let us now transport ourselves from Robinson's island 
bathed in light to the European lIlidcUe ages shrouded in dark- 
ness. Here, instead of the independent 111an, ,ve find everyone 
dependent, serfs and lords, vassals and suzerains, laymen and 
clergy. Personal dependence here characterises the social 
relations of production just as much as it does the other spheres 
of life organized on the basis of that production. But for the 
very reason that personal dependence forms the groundwork 
of society, there is no neccs
ity for labour and its products to 

current_use on the London Exchange in the year 1817. 'The pa.rallelograms of Mr. 
Owen' appear to be the only form of society, besides the bourgeois form, with which 
he was acquainted." (Karl :Marx: "Zur Kritik," &c., p. 38,39.) 



assume a fantastic form different from their reality. They 
take the shape, in the transactions of society, of services in kind 
and payments in kind. Here the particular and natural forDl 
of labour, and not, as in a. society based on production of com- 
modities, its general abstract form is the imu1ediate 
ocial forn) 
of labour. Compulsory labour is just as properly mea
u red by 
time, as commodity-producing labour; but every ::;erf knows 
that \vhat he expends in the service of his lord, is a detinite 
quantity of his own personal labour-power. The tithe to be 
rendered to the priest is more 111atter of fact than his blessing. 
No matter, then, ,vhat we rnay think of the parts played by the 
different classes of people themscl ves in this society, the Rocial 
relations between individuals in tbe perforluance of thei r 
]abour, appear at all events as their own nlutual personal rela- 
tions, and are not disguised under the shape of social relations 
betw"een the products of labour. 
For an example of labour in common or directly a.
labour, we have no occasion to go back to that spontaaeously 
developed form which we find on the threshold ùf the history 
of all civilized races. l We have one close at hand in the 
patriarchal industries of a peasant family, that produces corn, 
cattle, yarn, linen, and clothing for home use. These ditIerent 
articles are, as regards the family, so many products of its 
labour, but as between themselves, they are not comnlodities. 
The different kinds of labour, such as tillage, caltle tenJing, 
spinning, weaving and n1aking clotheg, which result in the 
various products, are in themselves, and such as they are, direct 
social functions, because functions of the family, which, just as 
much as a society based on the production of commodities, 
possesses a spontaneously developed system of division of 
labour. The distribution of the work within the family, and 

1 Ie A ridiculous presumption has la.tterly got abroa.d that common property in its 
primitive form is specifically a Slavonian, or even exclUBively Russian form. It is the 
primitive form that we ca.n proye to have existed amongst Romans, Teutons, a!i\.-j 
Celts, and even to this day we find numerous examples, ruins though they be, in 
India. A more exhaustive study of Asiatic, and especially of Indian forms of common 
property, would øhow how from thc different forms of primitive common property, 
different forms of its dissolution have been developed. Thus, for insta.nce, the various 
original types of Roman and Teutonic pri\oate property are deducible from different 
form. of Indian common property." (Karl MarL "Zur Kritik," &c., p. 10.) 


Caþitalist Production. 

the regulation of the labour..time of the several members, 
depend as well upon differences of age and sex as upon natural 
conditions varying with the seasons. The labour-power of each 
individual, by its very nature, operates in this case merely as 
a definite portion of the whole labour-power of the family, and 
therefore, the measure of the expenditure of individual labour- 
power by its duration, appears here by ita very nature as a 
80cial character of their labour. 
Let us no,v picture to ourselves, by way of change, a com- 
munity of free individuals, carrying on their work with the 
tneans of production in common, in which the labour-power of 
all the different individuals is consciously applied as the 

ombined labour-power of the community. All the charac- 
teristics of Robinson's labour are here repeated, but with thi3 
difference, that they are social, instead of individual. Every- 
thing produced by him wa.
 exclusively the result of his o\vn 
personal labour, and therefore simply an object of use for 
himself. The total product of our community is a social 
product. One portion serves as fresh means of production and 
reluains social But another portion is consumed by tLe 
members as means of 8ub3istence. A distribution of this 
portion amongst them is consequently necessary. The mode 
of this distribution will vary with the productive organization 
of the community, and the degree of historical development 
attained by the producers. \Ve will assume, but merely for 
the sake of a parallel with the production of commodities, that 
the share of each individual producer in the means of subsis- 
tence is determined by his labour-time. Labour-time would, 
in that case, playa double part. Its apportionment in accor- 
da.nce with a definite social plan maintains the proper proportion 
l)etween the different kinds of work to be done and the various 
,valits of the community. On the other hand, it also serves as 
a measure of the portion of the common labour borne by each 
individual, and of his share in the part of the total product des- 
tined for individual consumption. The social relations of the 
individual producers, with regard both to their labour and to its 
products, are in this case perfectly simple and intelligible, and 
that with regard not only to production but also to distribution. 



The religious world is but the reflex of the real world. .And 
for a society based upon the production of commodities, in 
which the producers in genera) enter into social relations with 
one another by treating their products as commodities and 
values, ,vhereby they reduce their individual private labour to 
the standard of homogeneous human labour-for such a society, 
Christianity with its cultus of abstract man, more especially in 
its bourgeois developments, Protestantism, Deism, &c., is the 
most fitting form of religion. In the ancient Asiatic and other 
ancient modes of production, we find that the conversion of 
products into commodities, and therefore the conversion of men 
into producers of commodities, holds a subordinate place, which, 
ho,vever, increases in importance as the primitive communities 
approach nearer and nearer to their dissolution. Trading 
nations, properly so called, exist in the ancient world only in 
its interstice
, like the gods of Epicurl1s in the lntermundia, or 
like Jews in the pores of Polish society. Those ancient social 
organisms of production are. as compared with bourgeois 
society, extremely simple and transparent. But they are 
founded either on the immature development of man in.. 
diviùually, who has not yet severed the umbilical cord that 
unites him with his fellow men in a primitive tribal com- 
Inunity, or upon direct relations of subjection. They can 
arise and exist only when the development of the productive 
po,ver of labour has not risen beyond a lo\v stage, and when, 
therefore, the social relations within the sphere of material 
]ife, between m
Jn and man, and between man and Nature, are 
correspondingly narro\v. This narrowness is reflected in the 
.ancient worship of Nature, and in the other elements of the 
popular religions. The religious reflex of the real world can, 
in any case, only then finally vanish, when the practical re- 
]ations of everyday life offer to man none but perfectly in- 
telligible and reasonable relations with regard to his fellowmen 
and to nature. 
The life-process of society, which is based on the process of 
material production, does not strip off its mystical veil until it 
is treated as production by freely associated men, and is con- 
sciously regulated by them in accordance with a settled plan. 


Caþitalist Produclio1t. 

This, however, demands for society a certain material ground- 
work or set of conditions of existence which in their turn are 
the spontaneous product of a. long and painful process of 
Political economy has indeed analysed, however in COln- 
pletely,l value and its magnitude, and bas discovered ,vhat lie
beneath these forms. But it has never once asked the question 
why labour is represented by the value of its product and labour 
time by the magnitude of that value.' These formulæ, 'v hich 

1 The insufficiency of Ricardo'! analysis of the magnitude of value, and his analysis 
is by far the best, will appear from the Brd and 4th books of this work. As reg
value in general, it is the weak point of the classical school of political economy that 
it nowhere, expressly and with full conlciousness, distinguishE's between labour, as it 
appears in the value of a product and the same labour, as it appears in the use- 
value of that product. Of course the distinction is practically made, since this school 
treats labour, at one time under its quantitative aspect, at another under its qualita- 
tive aspect. But it has not the least idea, that when the difference between various 
kinds of labour is treated as purely quantitative, their qualitative unity or equality, 
and therefore their reduction to abstract human labour, is implied. .For instance.., 
Ricardo declares that he agrees with Destutt de Tracy in this proposition: "As it ill 
certain that our physical and moral faoulties are alone our original riches, the em- 
ployment of those faculties, labour of some kind, is our only original treasure, and it Î& 
always from this employment that all those things are created, which we call riche.a. 
. . . It is certain, too, that all those things only represent the labour which h
created them, and if they have a. value, or even two distinct values, they can only 
derive them from that (the value) of the labour from which they emanate." (}{icardo, 
The Principles of Pol. Econ. BEd. Lond. 1821, p. 334). We would here only point 
out, that Ricardo puts his own more profound interpretation upon the words of Des- 
tutt. 'Vhat the latter really says is, that on the one hand all things which constitute 
wealth represent the labour that crea.tes them, but that on the other hand, they ac- 
quire their" two different values" (use-value and exchange-value) from "the value 
of labour." He thus falls into the commonplace error of the vulgar economists, who 
assume the value of one commodity (in this case labour) in order to determine thp 
values of the rest. But Ricardo reads him as if he had said, that labour (not the 
value of labour) is embodied both in use-value and exchange-value. Nevertheless, 
Ricardo himself pays so little a.ttention to the two-fold character of the labour which 
has a two-fold embodiment, that he devotes the whole of his chapter on "Value and 
Riches, Their Distinctive Properties," to a laborious examination of the trivialities 
of a J. B. Say. And at the finish he is quite astonished to find that Destutt on the- 
one hand agrees with him a.s to labour being the source of value, and on the other 
hand with J. B. Say a.s to the notion of value. 
s It is one of the chief failingR of classical economy that it has never succeeded, by 
mean8 of its analysis of commodities, and, in particular, of their value, in discover- 
ing that form under which value becomes exchange-value. Even Adam Smith and 
Ricardo, the best representatives of the school, treat the form of Talue as a thing of 
no importance, as having no connection with the inherent nature of commodit.ies. 
The reason for this is not solely because their attention is entirely absorbeù in the 
analysis of the magnitude of value. It lies deeper. The value form of the proùuct 

Co Jnl1zodities. 


bear stamped upon them in unmistakeable letters, that they 
belong to a state of soci.ety, in which the process of production 
has the mastery over man, instead of being controlled by bim, 
such formulæ appear to the bourgeois intellect to be as llluch a 
self-evident necessity imposed by nature as productive labour 
itself. Hence forms of social production that preceded the 
bourgeois form, are treated by the bourgeoisie in much the 
saIne \vay as the Fathers of the Church treated pre-Christian 
of labour ia not only the most abstract, but is also the most universal form, taken by 
the product in bourgeois production, and stamps that production as a particular 
lipecies of social production, and thereby gives it its special historical cha.racter. If 
then we treat this mode of proùuction as one eternally fixed by nature for every 
state of society, we neces&arily overlook that which is the differentia specifica of the 
value-form, and consequently of the commodity-form, and of its further develop- 
ments, money-form, capital-form, &c. 'Ye consequently find that economists, who 
are thoroughly agreed as to labour time being the measure of the magnitude of value, 
bave the most strange and contradictory ideas of money, the perfected form of the 
&;eneral equivalent. This ill seen in a striking manner when they treat of banking, 
where the commonplace definitions of money will no longer hoM water. This led to 
the rise of a restored mercantile system (Ganilh, &c.), which l!Iees in value nothing 
but a social form, or rather the unsubstantial ghost of that form. Once for all I may 
here state, that by classical political economy, 1 understand that economy which, 
ßinca the time of 'V. Petty, has investigated the real relations of production in bour- 
geois society, in contradistinction to vulgar economy, which deals with appearances 
only, l'uminates without ceasing on the materials long since provided by scientifio 
economy, and there seeks plausible explanations of the most obtrusive phenomena, 
for bourgeois d!l.ily use, but for the rest, confines itself to systpmatizing in a pedantic 
"ay, and proclaiming for everlasting truths, the trite ideas held by the self-compla- 
cent bourgeoisie with regard to their own world, to them the besf of all possible 
1 "Les économistes ont une singulière manière de procéder. II n'y a pour eux que 
ùeux sortes d'institution8, celles de rart et celles de 10. nature. Les institutions de 
la féodalité sont ùes institutions artificielles, celles de 10. bourgeoisie sont des inliititu- 
tions naturelles. lIs rel!lsemblent en ceci aUI théologiens, qui eux aussi établissent 
.deux I:mrtes de religion.. Toute religion qui n'est pas 10. leur, est une invention des 
hommes, tandis que leur propre religion cst une émanation de Dieu-Ainsi il 
y a eu de l'histoire, mais il n'y en a plus." (Karl :Marx. l\li
ère de la Philosophie. 
Réponse à 10. Philosophie de 10. Misère par M. Proudhon, 1847 p. 113.) Truly comical 
is l\l. Bastiat, who imagines that the ancient Greeks and Romans lived by plunder 
.alone. But when people plunder for centuries, there must always be something at 
hand for them to seize; the objects of plunder must be continually reproduced. It 
would thul!I appear that even Greeks and Romans had some process of production, 
-consequently, an economy, which just as much constituted the material basis of their 
world, as bourgeois economy constitutes that of our modern world. Or perhaps Bas- 
tiat means, that a mode of production based on slavery is based on a system of plun- 
der. In that case he treads on dangerous ground. If a giant thinker like Aristotle 
erret! in his appreciation of slave labour, why should a dwarf economist like Bastiat 
be right in his appreciation of wage labour 1-1 seize this opportul1ity of shortI, 


Caþitalist Production. 

To what extent some economists are misled by the Fetishism 
Ú\herent in commodities, or by the objective appearance of the 
social characteristics of ]abour, is shown, amongst other ways, 
by the dull and tedious quarrel over the part played by Nature 
in the formation of exchange value. Since exchange value is 
a definite social manner of expressing the amount of labour 
bestowed upon an object, Nature has no more to do with it, 
than it. has in fixing the course 01 exchange. 
The mode of production in which the product takes the 
form of a commodity, or is produced directly for exchange, is the 
most generaJ and most embryonic form of bourgeois production. 
It therefore makes it9 appearance at an early date in history, 
though not in the same predominating and characteristic 
manner as now-a-days. Hence its Fetish character is com- 
paratively easy to be seen through. But when we come 
to mor
 concrete forms, even this appearance of simplicity 
vanishes. Whence arose the illusions of the monetary system? 
To it gold and silver, when serving as money, did not repre- 
sent a social relation between producers, but were natural 
objects with strange social properties. And modern economy, 
which looks down ,vith such disdain on the monetary system, 
does not it9 superstition come out as clear as noon-day, when- 
ever it treats of capital? How lo:rig is it since economy dis- 
carded the physiocratic illusion, that rents grow out of the 
Boil and not out of society? 
answering an objection taken by a German paper in America, to my work, "Zur 
Kritik der Pol. Oekonomie,1859." In the estimation of that paper, my view that.each 
special mode of production and the !ociall"elations corresponding to it, in short, that 
the economic structure of society, is the real basis on which the juridical and political 
Jt11perstructure is raised, and to which definite sochl forms of thought correspond; 
that the mode of prorluction determines the character of the social, political, and in 
tellectuallife generally, all this is very true for our own times, in which material 
intercsts preponderate, but not for the middle !\g
!I!, in which Catholicism, nor for 
Athenl!l and Rome, where politics, reigned l!Iupreme. In the first place it strikes one 
as an odd thing for anyone to suppose that these well-worn phrases about the middlø 
ages anù the ancient world are unknown to anyone else. This much, however, ie 
clear, that the middle ages could not live or;. Uatholicism, nor the ancient world on 
politics. On the contrary, it ill the mo. 
p i.n which they gained 8. livelihood that ex 
plain. why here politic!', and there Catholic:sm, played the chief part. For the rest, 
it requires but a. slight acquaintance with the history of the Roman republic, fOJ 
example, to be tha.t its secret history. ill the history of its landed property. 
On the other hand, Don Quixote long ago paid the penalty for wrongly imaginin
that knight errantry was compatible with all economical forms of lociety. 



But not to anticipate, we will content ourselves with yet 
another example relating to the comillodity form. Could com- 
modities themselves speak, they would say: Our use-value may 
be a thing that interests men. It is no part of us as objects. 
What, however, does belong to us as objects, is our value. Our 
natural intercourse as commodities proves it. In the eyes of 
each other we are nothing but exchange values. N ow listen 
how those commodities speak through the mouth of the econo- 
mist. If Value "-(i.e., exchange value) U is a property of things, 
riches "-(i.e., use-value) II of man. Value, in this sense, neces- 
sarily implies exchanges, riches do not."1 "Riches" (u!)c-value) 
c, are the attribute of men, value is the attribute of commodi- 
ties. A man or a community is rich, a. pearl or a diamond is 
valuable. " A pearl or a diamond is valuable" as a pearl or 
diamond. 1 So far no chemist has ever discovered exchange 
value either in a. pearl or a diamond. The econolnical dis- 
coverers of this chemical element, who by-the- bye lay special 
claim to critical acumen, find however that the use-value of 
objects belongs to them independently of their material pro- 
perties, while their value, on the other hand, formB a part of 
them as objects. What confirms them in this vie 'v, is the 
peculiar circumstance that the use-value of objects is realised 
without exchange, by means of a direct relation between the 
objects and man, while. on the other hand, their value is real- 
ised only by exchange, that is, by means of a social proces
"\Vho fails here to call to mind our good friend, DOf;berry, who 
informs neighbour Seacoal, that, II To be a well-favoured man 
is the gift of fortune; but reading and writing comes by 

1 Obsern.tions on certain verbal disputes in Pol. Econ., particularly relating to value 
and to demand and aupply. Lond., 1821, p. 16. 
2 S. Bailey, 1 c., p. 165. 
S The author of U Observa.tion," and S. Bailey accuse Ricardo of converting ex- 
change value from aomething relative into something absolute. The opposite is the 
facio He haa explained the apparent relation between objects, such as diamonùs and 
pearls, in which relation they appear as exchange values, and disclosed the true rela- 
tion hidden behind the appearances, namely, their relation to each other as mere 
expressiona of human labom. If the followers of Ricardo answer Bailey somewhat 
rudely, and by no mean. convincingly, the rea.son is to be sought in this, that they 
were unable to find in Ricardo's own works Any key to the hidden relations existing 
between value and its form) exchange value. 




Caþitalist Production. 



IT is plain that commodities cannot go to market and make 
exchanges of their own account. "T e must, therefore, have 
recourse to their guardians, "\\rho are also their ownersl Com- 
modities are things, and therefore without power of resistance 
against man. If they are wanting in docility he can use force; 
in other words, he can take possession of thenl. l In order that 
these objects may enter into relation with each other as 
commodities, their guardians must place themselves in relation 
to one anot.her, as persons whose will resides in those objects, 
and must behave in such a way that each does not appropriate 
the commodity of the other, and part with his own, except by 
uwans of an act done by mutual consent. They must, there- 
fore, mutually recognise in each other the rights of private 
proprietors. This juridical relation, "Thich thus expresses itself 
in a contract, whether such contract be part of a developed 
legal system or not, is a relation between two wilh
, and is but 
the reflex of the real economical relation bet,veen the two. It 
is this économical relation that determines the subject matter 
cOlnprised in each such juridical act. 2 The persons exist for 
one another merely as representatives of, and, therefore, as 

1 In the 12th century, so renowned for its piety, they included amongst com- 
moùities ßome very delicate things. Thus a French poet of the period enumeratea 
amongst the goods to be found in the market of Landit, not only clothing, shoes, 
leather, agricultural implements, &c., but also" femmes foIles de leur corps." 
2 Proudhon begins by taking his ideal of justice, of "justice éternelle," from 
the juridical relations that corre.>pond to the production of commodities: thereby, 
it may be noted, he proves, to the consolation of 
ll good citizens, that the 
pro.tIuction of commodities is a form of production as everlasting as justice. 
Then he turns round and seeks to reform the actual production of commodities, and 
the actual legal system corresponding thereto, ill accordance with this ideal. What 
opinion should we have of a chemist, who, instead of studying the actuallawH of the 
molecular changes in the composition and deoomposition of matter, and on tha.t 
foundation solving definite problems, claimed to regulate the composition and 
decomposition of matter by means of the "eternal ideas," of "naturalité" and 
"affinité!" Do we really know any more about "usury," when we say it contra- 
dicts "justice étern
lle," "équité Hernelle," "mutualitê éternelle," and other 
"vérités éternelleB " than the fathers of the church did when they said it was incom- 
patible with " gra.ce éternelle," " foi ét
rnelle." and " la. volonté êternelle de Dieu 1''' 



o,vners of, commodities. In the course of our investigation we 
shall find, in general, that the characters who appear on the 
economic stage are but the personifications of the economical 
relations that exist bet\veen theln. 
'Vhat chiefly distinguishes a commodity from its owner is the 
fact, that it lookh upon every other commodity as but the form 
.of appearance of its own value. A born Ie yeller and a cynic, 
it is al \vays ready to exchange not only soul, but body, with 
.any and every other cOillIl10dity, be the same more repulsive 
than Maritornes herself: The o\vner makes up for this lack in 
the commodity of a sense of the concrete, by his own five and 
lnore senses. His commodity possesses for himself no im- 
mediate use-value. Other,vise, be ,yould not bring it to the 
market. It has use-value for others; but for himself its only 
.direct use-value is that of being a depository of exchange 
value, and, consequently, a means of exchange. 1 'rherefore, 
he makes up his mind to part ,vith it for commodities whose 
value in use is of service to him. All commodities are non-use- 
values for their o\vners, aud use-values for their non-owners. 
Consequently, they must all change hands. But thi'3 change 
-of hands is what constitutes their exchange, and the latter 
puts them in relation \vith each other as values, and realises 
them as values. Hence con1illodities must be realised as values 
before they can be rcalised as use-values. 
On the other hand, they lllust show that they are use- 
values before they can be realised as values. For the labour 
spent upon them counts effectively, only in so far as it is spent 
in a form that is useful for others. 'Vhether that labour is use- 
ful for others, and its product consequent]y capable of satisfying 
the \vants of others, can be proved only by the act of exchange. 

very o\vner of a commodity ,vi
bes to part with it in ex- 
change only for those commodities whose use-value satisfies 
some ,vant of his. Looked at in this way, exchange is for 

1 "For two-fold is the use of every object. . . . The one is peculiar to the 
obJect as such, the other is not, 89 a sandal which may be worn, and is also exchaÐ.ge-- 
able. Both are uses of the 
andal, for even he who exchanges the sandal for the 
money or fQod he is in want of, makes use of the sa.ndal as a sandaL But not in 
its natural way. For it has not been made for the sake of being exchanged.' 
-(Aristoteles, de Rep., l. i. c. 9.) 


Caþi/alzst Production. 

him simply a private transaction. On the other hand, he de- 
sires to realise the value of his commodity, to convert it into 
any other suitable commodity of equal value, irrespecti va of 
whether his own commodity bas or has not any use-value for 
the owner of the other. From this point of view, exchangG is 
for bim a social transaction of a general character. But one 
and the same set of transactions cannot be simultaneously for 
all o,vners of commodities both exclusively private and ex- 
clusively social and general. 
Let us look at the matter a little closer. To the owner o
commodity, every other commodity is, in regard to his own, a 
particular equivalent, and consequently his own commodity is 
the universal equivalent for all the others. But since tl1is 
applies to every o,vner, there is, in fact, no commodity acting 
as universal equivalent, and the relative value of commodities 
possesses no general form under which they can be equated as 
values and have the magnitude of their values compared. So 
far, therefore, they do not confront each other as commodities, 
but only as products or usA-values. In their difficulties our 
commodity-owners think like Faust: ct 1m Anfang war die 
That." They therefore acted and transacted before they 
thought. Instinctively they conform to the laws imposed by 
the nature of con1IDodities. They cannot bring their com- 
modities into relation as values, and therefore as commodities,. 
except by comparing them with some one other commodity 
as the universal equivalent. That we saw from the analysis 
of a commodity. But a particular commodity cannot becoIlle 
the W1iversal equivalent except by a social act. 'rhe social 
action therefore of all other commodities, sets apart the par- 
ticular commodity in which they all represent their values. 
Thereby the bodily form of this commodity becomes the form 
of the socially recognised universal equivalent. To be the 
universal equivalent, becomes, by this social process, the 
specific function of the commodity thus excluded by the rest. 
Thus it becomes-money. "llli unum consilium habent et 
virtutem et potestatem suam bestiæ tradunt. Et ne quis 
possit emere aut vendere, nisi qui habet characterem aut 
nomen bestiæ, aut numerum nominis eius." (Apocalypse.) 



Money is a crystal formed of necessity in the course of the 
exchanges, whereby different products of labour practically 
equated to one another and thus by practice converted into 
commodities. The historical progress and extension of ex- 
changes develops the contrast, latent in commodities, between 
use-value and value. The necessity for giving an external 
expression to this contrast for the purposes of commercial in- 
tercourse, urges on the establishment of an independent form 
of value, and finds no rest until it is once for all satisfied by 
the differentiation of commodities into commodities and money. 
At the same rate, then, as the conversion of products into 
commodities is being accomplished, 80 also is the conversion of 
one special commodity into money.1 
The direct barter of products attains the elementary form 
of the relative expression of value in one respect, but not in 
another. That form is x Commodity A = y Commodity B. 
The form of direct barter is x use-value A = Y use-value B.t 
The articles A and B in this case are not as yet commodities, 
nut become so only by the act of barter. The first step made 
hy an object of utility towards acquiring exchange-value 
is when it forms a non-use-value for its owner, and that 
happens when it forms a superfluous portion of some article 
required for his immediate wants. Objects in themselves are 
external to man, and consequently alienable by him. In order 
that this alienation may be reciprocal, it is only necessary for 
men, by a tacit understanding, to treat each other as private 
o,vners of those alienable objects, and by implication 
as inde- 
pendent individuals. But such a state of reciprocal indepen- 
òence has no existence in a primitive society based on pro- 
perty in common, whether such a society takes the form of a 
patriarchal family, an ancient Indian community, or a Peruvian 

) }-"rom this we may form an estimate of the shrewdness of the petit-bourgeois 
socialism, which, while perpetuating the production of com modi tics, aims at abolishing 
the" antagonism" between money and commodities, and consequently, !lincc money 
exists only by virtue of this antagonism, at abolishing money itself. 'Ve might just 
8S well try to retain Catholicism without the Pope. For more on this point see my 
work, IC Zur Kritik Jer Pol. Oekon.," p. 61, lI.q. 
2 So long as, instead of two distinct use-values being exchanged, a chaotic mßss of 
articles are offered as the equivalent of a single article, which is often the case with 
a&yages, even the direct bart
r of products ï. in its first infancy. 



Caþitalzst Productio1z. 

Inca State. The exchange of commodities, therefore, first 
begins on the boundaries of such communities, at their point.
of contact with other similar communities, or with members of 
the latter. So soon, however, as products once become com- 
moùities in the external relations of a community, they also, 
by reaction, become so in its internal intercourse. The pro- 
portions in which they are exchangeable are at :first quite a 
matter of chance. What makes them exchangeable is the 
mutual desire of their owners to alienate them. ßleantime the 
need for foreign objects of utility gradually establishes itself. 

rhe constant repetition of exchange makes it a norlnal social 
act. In the course of time, therefore, some portion at least of 
the products of labour must be produced with a special vie\v 
to exchange. From that Inoment the distinction becomes 
firmly establiRhed between the utility of an object for the pur- 
po::;es of consumption, and its utility for the purposes of ex.. 
change. It
 use-value becomes distinguished from its exchange 
value. On the other hand, the quantitative proportion in 
,vhich the articles are exchangeable, becomes dependent on 
their production itself. Custom stamps them as values with 
definite magnitudes. 
In the direct barter of products, each comll1odity is directly 
a means of exchange to its owner, and to all other persons an 
equivalent, but that only in so far as it has use-value for them. 
At this st.age, therefore, the articles exchanged do not acquire 
a value-form independent of their own use-value, or of the 
individual neells of the exchangers. The necessity for a value- 
form gro\vs ,vith the increasing nunlber and variety of the 
comrnodities exchanged. The problem and the means of solu- 
tion arise simuItaneous]y. Comillodity-o\vners never equate 
their own comillodities to those of others, and exchange theln 
on a large scale, without different kinds of commodities belong- 
ing to different owners being exchangeable for, and equated as 
values to, one and the same special article. Such last-In en- 
tioned article, by becoming the equivalent of various other 
commodities, acquires at once, though within narrow lirnits. 
the character of a general social equivalent. This character 
comes and goes with the mOlllentary social acts that ca,Hed it 



into life. In turns anù transiently it attaches itself first to this 
and then to that commodity. But with the development of 
exchange it fixes itself firmly and exclusively to particular 
sorts of commodities, and becomes crystallised by assuming the 
money-form. The particular kind of commodity to which it 
sticks is at first a. matter of accident. Nevertheless there are 
two circuffi'3tances whose influence is decisive. The money- 
form attaches itself either to the most important articles of ex- 
change from outside, and these in fact are primitive and natural 
forms in ,vhich the exchange-value of home products.lìnds ex- 
pression; or else it attaches itself to the object of utility 
that fonns, like cattle, the chief portion of indigenous alienable 
wealth. Nomad races are the first to develop the money-form, 
because all their worldly goods consist of moveable objects 
and are therefore directly alienable; and because their mode of 
life, by continually bringing them into contact with foreign com- 
munities, solicits the exchange of products. 
lan has often 
made nlan himself, under the form of slaves, serve as the pri- 
mitive material of money, but has never used land for that 
purpose. Such an idea could only spring up in a bourgeois 
society already well developed. It dates from the last third of 
the 17th century, and the first attempt to put it in practice 
on a national scale was made a century after\vards, during the 
French bourgeois revolution. 
In proportion as exchange bursts its local bonds, and the 
value of commodities more and more expands into an embodi- 
ment of human labour in the abstract, in the same proportion 
the character of money attaches itself to commodities that are 
by nature fitted to perform the social function of a universal 
quivalent. Those commodities are the precious metals. 
The truth of the proposition that, c, although gold and silver 
are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and 

ilver," I is shown by the fitness of the physical properties of 
these metals for the functions of money.' Up to this point, 
however, we are acquainted only with one function of money, 
I Karl Marx. 1. c. p. 135. "I metalli. . . naturalmente moneta," (Gallani. 
" Della moneta" in Cusiodi's Collection: Parte 'ñIoderna t. iii.). 
i For further details on thil subject see i 'P(ly work cited above, the chapter on 
II The precious metals." 


Caþitalist Production. 

namely, to serve as the form of manifestation of the value of 
commodities, or as the material in which the magnitudes of 
their values are socially expressed. An adequate form of 
manifestation of value, a fit embodiment of abstract, undiffer- 
entiated, and therefore equal human labour, that material 
alone can be whose every sample exhibits the same unifonn 
qualities. On the other hand, since the difference between the 
magnitudes of value is purely quantitative, the money com- 
modity must be susceptible of merely quantitative differences, 
must therefore be divisible at will, and equally capable of being 
re-united. Gold and silver possess these properties by nature. 
The use-value of the money commodity becomes twofùld. 
In addition to its special use-value as a commodity (gold, 
for instance, serving to stop teeth, to form the raw material of 
articles of luxury, &c.), it acq uires a formal use-value, origina- 
ting in its specific social function. 
Since all commodities are merely particular equivalents of 
money, the latter being their universal equivalent, they, ,vith 
regard to the latter as the universal commodity, play the part.s 
of particular commodities. l 
\Ve have seen that the money-form is but the reflex, thrown 
upon one single commodity, of the value relations between all the 
rest. That money is a commodity
 is therefore a new discovery 
only for those ,vho, when they analyse it, start from its fully 
developed shape. The act of exchange gives to the commodity 
converted into money, not its value, but its specific value-forill. 
By confounding these two distinct things some writers have 
been led to hold that the value of gold and silver is imagi- 

1 " II danaro è 180 merce universale (Ven-i, l.:c., p. 16). 

 " Silver and gold themselves (which we may call by the general name of bullion), 
are . . . commodities. . . rising and falling in . . . value. . . Bullion, then, m
be reckoned to be of higher value where the smaller weight will purchase the greater 
quantity of the proùuct or manufacture of the countrey," &c. (" A Discourse of the 
General Notions of Money, Trade, anil Exchange, as they stand in relations to each 
othel'." Bya Mer..:hant. Lond., 1695, p. 7). " Silver and gold, coined or wlcoineù, 
though they are useè. for a measure of all other things, are no less a commodity than 
tvine, oyl, tobacco, cloth, or stuffs." (" A Discourse concerning 'l'rade, and that in 
particular of the East Indies," &c. London, 1689, p. 2). "The stock and riches of 
the kingdom cannot properly be confined to money, nor ought gold and 8ilver to be 
excluded from being merchandize." (" A Treatise concerning the East India Trade 
being a most profitable Trade." wndon, 1680, Revrint 1696. p. 4). 



nary.! The fact that money can, in certain functions, be replaced 
'by Illere symbols of itself, gave rise to that other mi::,taken notion, 
that it is itself a mere sYln boL Nevertheless under this error 
lurked a presentiment that the money-forill of an object is not 
an inseparable part of that object, but is SiUlply the form under 
,vhich certain social relations manifest theIllselves. In this 
sense every commodity is a symbol, since, in so far as it is 
value, it is only the material envelope of the human labour 
spent upon it.' But if it be declared that the social characters 
assumed. by objects, or the material forms assumed by the 
social qualities of labour under the régime of a definite mode of 
production, are mere symbols, it is in the same breath also 
declared that these characteristics are arbitrary fictions sanc- 
tioned by the so-called uni versal consent of mankind. This 

1 "L'oro e l'argento hanno valore come metalli anteriore all' ealer moneta." 
{Galiani, l.c.). Locke says, "The universal consent of mankind gave to silver, on 

ccount of ita qualitie! which made it øuitable for money, an imaginø.ryv&lue." Law, 
on the other hand, "How could different nationl give an imaginary value to any 
single thing . . . or how could this imaginary value have maintained itøelf!" But 
tbe following shows how little he himself understood about the matter: "Silver was 
exchanged in proportion to the value in use it possesscd, consequently in proportion to 
its real value. By its adoption a. money it received an additional value (une valeur 
ø.dditionnclle)" (Jean Law: "Considérations iur Ie numéraire et Ie commerce" in 
E. Daire's Edit. of " Economistel Financiers dn XVIII. .iecle.," p. 470). 
2 "L'Argent cn (del denrées) est Ie signe." (V. de Forbonnaiø : "Eléments dn COP" 
merce, Nouy. Edit. Leyde, 1776," t. IL, p. 143). " Oomme øigne il eat attiré par lea 
ùenrées." (l.ft" p. 15
). " L'argent est un signe d'une chose et la repr6øente." (Mon- 
tCSQ1'1 P T1: .1 Eøpnt des Lois," Oeuvres, Lond. 1767, t. II., p. 2). "L'argent n'eøt pas 
Sill pIe signe, car il eat lui-m
me richesae; il ne repréBente pas lcs valeurs, il lei 
équivaut." (Le Trosne, l.c., p. 910). "The notion of ?"alue contemplates the valuable 
article as a mere symbol; the article counts not for what it is, but for what it is 
worth." (Hegel, l.c., p. 100). La.wyers ztarted long before economists the idea that 
money is a mere symbol, and that the value of the precious is purely imaginary. 
This they did in the sycophantic service of the crowned heads, supporting the right 
uf the latter to debase the coinage, during the whole of the middle ages, by the tra.di- 
tions of the Roman Empire and the conceptions of money to be found in the Pandecta. 
"Qu' aucun puisse ni doive fa.ire doute," says an apt scholar of theirs, Philip of 
Y alois, in a decree of 1346, "que à nous et à notre majesté roya.le n' appartiennent 
seulement . . . Ie meøtier, Ie fait, l'état, la. provision et toute l'ordonnance des 
monnaies, de donner tel cours, et pour tel prix comme il nous plait et bon nous 
semble." It was a. maxim of the Roman Law that the value of money was fixed by 
decree of the emperor. It was e
pressly forbidden to treat money as a commodity. 
" Pecunias vero nulli emere fas erit, nam in UIiU publico constitutas oportet non esse 
mercem." Some good work on this queøtion bas been done by G. F. Pagnini: 
"Saggio sopIa il giusto pregio delle cose, 1751"; Custodi "Parte Moderna," t. U. 
In the 8econd part of his work Pagnini directs his polemics especially against the 
la. \...-;;e. 's. 


Caþitalist Production. 

suited the mode of explanation in favour during the 18th 
century. Unable to account for the origin of the puzzling 
forms assumed by social relations between man and man, people 
Bought to denude them of their strange appearance byascribin b 
to them a conventional origin. 
It has already been remarked above that the equivalent form 
of a commodity does not imply the determination of the magni- 
tude of its value. Therefore, although we may be aware that golc1 
is money, and consequently directly exchangeable for all other 
commodities, yet that fact by no means tells how much 10 Ibs., 
for instance, of gold is worth. l\loney, like every other com- 
modity, cannot express the magnitude of its value except 
relati vely in other commodities. This value is determined by 
the labour-time required for its production, and is expressed by 
the quantity of any other commodity that costs the same 
amount of labour-time. 1 Such quantitative determination of its 
relative value takes place at the source of its production by 
n1eans of barter. 'Vhen it steps into circulation as money, its 
value is already given. In the last decades of the 17th 
century it bad already been shown that money is a commodity, 
but this step marks only the infancy of the analysis. The 
difficulty lies, not in comprehending that money is a commo- 
di ty, but in discovering how, why, and by 'v hat means a com- 
modity becomes money. 2 
1 U If a man can bring to London an ounce of Silver out of the Earth in Peru, in the 

ame time that he call produce a bushel of Corn, then the one is the natural price of 
the other; now, if by reason of new or more easie mines a man can procure two 
ounces of silver 808 easily al!l he formerly did one, the corn will be as cheap at ten 
Bhillings the bushel as it was before at five shillings, creteris paribus." "\Villiam 
Petty: "A Treatise on Taxes and Contributions." Lond., 1662, p. 32. 
2 The learned Professor Roscher, after first informing us tb&t "the false definitionø 
of money may be divided into two main groups: those which make it more, and 
those which make it lcss, than a commodity," gives us a long and very mixed cata- 
logue of works on the nature of money, from which it appears that he has not the 
remotest idea of the real history of the theory; and then he moralises thus: "For 
the rest, it is not to be denied that most of the later economists do not bear sufficiently 
in mind the peculiarities that distinguish money from other commoditics" (it is then, 
after all, either more or less than a commodity 1) . . . "So far, the semi-mercantilist 
reaction of Ganilh is not altogether without foundation." nnlhelm Roscher: "Die 
Grundlagen der Nationaloekonomie," Srd Edn., 1858, pp. 277-210.) l\Iore 1 less I 
not sufficiently! 80 far 1 not altogether! What clearnesl!I and precision of ideas and 
e! And such eclectic professorial twaddle iø modestly baptised by 1,Ir. 
Roscher, "the anatomico-physiological method" of politicl\leconomy! One discovery 
however, he must have credit for, namely. that money is U a. pleasant commodity." 



We have already seeD, from the most elementary expression 
of value, x commodity A: y commodity B, that the object in 
which the magnitude of the value of another object is repre- 
1'ented, appears to have the equivalent form independently of 
this relation, It
 a social property given to it by Nature. 'Ye 
fol1owed up this false appearance to its fina
which is complete so soon as the universal equivalent fOrIn 
becomes identified with the bodily form of a particular com- 
modity, and thus crystallised into the money-form. What 
appears to happen is, not that gold becomes money, in consc- 
quence of all other commodities expressing their values in it, 
but, on the contrary, that all other commodities universally 
express their values in gold, because it is money. The inter- 
mediate steps of the process vanish in the result and leave no 
trace behind. Commodities find their own value already com- 
pletely represented, without any initiative on their part, in 
another commodity existing in company with them. These 
objects, gold and silver, just as they come out of the bowels of 
the earth, are forthwith the direct incarnation of all human 
labour. Hence the magic of money. In the form of society 
now under consideration, the behaviour of men in the social 
process of production is purely atomic. Hence their relations 
to each other in production assume a material character inde- 
pendent of their control and conscious individual action. 
These facts manifest themselves at first by products as a general 
rule taking the form of commodities. We have seen how tho 
progressive development of a society of commodity-producers 
stamps one privileged commodity with the character of money. 
Hence the riddle presented by money is but the riddle pre- 
sented by commodities j only it now strikes us in its most 
glaring form. 


Caþz'talist Production. 




THROUGHOUT this work, I assume, for the sake of simplicity. 
gold as the money-commodity. 
The first chief function of money is to supply commodities 
with the material for the expression of their values, or to re- 
present their values 8B magnitudes of the same denomination, 
qualitatively equal, and quantitatively comparable. It thus 
serves as a 'Unive1"sal rn8a8Ure of value. And only by virtue of 
this function does gold, the equivalent commodity par excel- 
lence, become money. 
It is not money that renders commodities commensurable. 
Just the contrary. It is because all commodities, as values, are 
realised human labour, and therefore commensurable. that their 
values can be measured by one and the same special commodity, 
and the latter be converted into the common mea.')ure of their 
values, i.e., into money. Money as a measure of value, is the 
phenomenal form that must of necessity be assumed by that 
Ineasure of value which is immanent in commodities, labour- 
time. 1 
The expression of the value of a. commodity in gold-x 
cOlnmodity A = Y money-commodity-is its money-form or 

1 The question-Why does not money directly represent la.bour-time, 80 tha.t a. 
piece of paper may represent, for instance, x hour's labour, is at bottom the lIame as 
the question why, given the production of commodities, must products take the form 
of commodities! This is evident, since their taking the form of commodities implies 
their differentiation into commodities and money. Or, why cannot private labour- 
labour for the account of private individuals-be treated as its opposite, immediate 
1I0ciallabour? I have elsewhere examined thoroughly the Utopian idea of "labour- 
money" in a society founded on the production of commodities (1. c., p. 61, øeq.). 
On this point I will only.ay further, that Owen's "labour-money," for instance, is 
no more "money" than a ticket for the theatre. Owen prelupposes directly 
associated labour, a form of produotion that is entirely inconsistent with the produc- 
tion of commoditiel. The certificate of labour is merely evidence of the part takt.:ll 
by the individua.l in the common labour. and of his ri
ht to a certain portion of the 
common proùuoe destined for consumption. Hut It never enters into Owen's head to 
presuppose the production of commodities, and at the same time, by juggling with 
money, to try to evade the necessary condi
ions of tha.t production. 

y, or thè Circulation of Co 1JZ1Jl odz ties. 67 

price. A single equation, such as 1 ton of iron = 2 ounces of 
gold, now suffices to express the value of the iron iil a socially 
valid manner. There is no longer any need for this equation 
to figure as a link in the chain of equations that express the 
values of all other commodities, because the equivalent com- 
modity, gold, now has the character of money. TLe general 
form of relative value has resumed its original shape of simple 
or isolated relative value. On the other hand, the expanded 
expression of relative value, the endless series of equations, has 
now become the form peculiar to the relative value of the 
money-commodity. The series itself, too, is now given, and 
has social recognition in the prices of actual commodities. We 
have only to read the quotations of a price-list backwards, to 
find the magnitude of t1.e value of money expressed in all sorts 
of commodities. But money itself has no price. In order to 
put it on an equal footing with all other commoditiea in this 
respect, we should be obliged to equate it to itself as its own 
The price or money-form of commodities is, like their form 
of value generally, a form quite distinct from their palpable 
bodily form; it is, therefore, a purely ideal or men tal form. 
Although invisible, the value of iron, linen and corn has actual 
existence in these very articles: it is ideally made perceptible 
by their equality with gold, a relation that, so to say, exists 
únly in their o\vn heads. Their ov,rner must, therefore, lend 
theln his tongue, or hang a ticket on them, before their prices 
can be communicated to the outside world. l Since the ex- 
pression of the value of commodities in gold is a merely ideal 

1 ::;avages and hali-civilised race! use the tongue differently. Captain Parry says 
of the inhabitants on the west coast of Baffin's Bay: "In this case (he i"efers to 
barter) they licked it (the thing represented to them) twice to their tongues, after 
which they !eemed to comider the bargain satisfactorily concluded." In the same 
way, the Eastern Esquima 
 licked the articles they received in exchange. If the 
tongue is thus used in the North as the organ of appropriation, no wonder that, in 
the South, the stomach serves as the organ of accumulated property, and that a. 
Kaffir estimates the wealth of a man by the size of his belly. That the Kaffirs know 
what they are about ia shown by the following: at the Bame time that the official 
British Health Report of _864 disclosed the deficienoy of fat-forming food a.mong a 
large part of the working class, a certain Dr. Ha.rvey (not, however, the celebrated. 
discoverer of the circulation of the blood), made a good thing by advertising recipei 
for reducing the !uperflu us fa.t of the bourgeoisie and anltocrac:v. 


Caþitali!d Production. 

ft.ct, we may use for this purpose imaginary or ideal money. 
Every trader knows, that he is far from having turned his 
goods into money, when he has expressed their value in a price 
or in imaginary money, and that it does not require the least 
bit of real gold, to estimate in that metal millions of pounds' 
\vorth of goods. "\Vhen, therefore, money serves as a measure 
of value, it is employed only as imaginary or ideal money. 
This circumstance has given rise to the wildest theories.! But, 
although the money that performs the functions of a measure 
of value is only ideal money, price depends entirely upon the 
actual substance that is money. The value, or in other words, 
the quantity of human labour contained in a ton of iron, is 
expressed in imagination by such a quantity of the money- 
commodity as contains the same amount of labour as the iron. 
According, therefore, as the measure of value is gold, silver, or 
copper, the value of the ton of iron will be expressed by very 
different prices, or will be represented by very different quan- 
tities of those metals respectively. 
II: therefore, two different commodities, such as gold ane.. 
silver, are simultaneously meaf:lures of value, all commodities 
have two prices-one a gold-price, the other a silver-price. 
These exist quietly side by side, so long as the ratio of the 
value of silver to that of gold remains unchanged, say, at 15 : 1. 
Every change in their ratio disturbs the ratio which exists 
between the gold-prices and the silver-prices of commodities,. 
and thus proves, by facts, that a double standard of value is 
inconsistent with the functions of a standard.' 
1 See Karl ItIarx: Zur Kritik, &c. "Theorien von der Mass
inheit des Geldes," 
p. 53, seq. 

 "'Vherever gold and silver have by law been made to perform the function of 
money or of a measure of value side by side, it has always been tried, but in vain, to 
treat them as one and the same material. To as!!!ume that there is an invariable 
ratio between the quantities of gold and silver in which a given quantity of labour-time 
is incorporated, is to assume, in fact, that gold and silver are of one and the same 
material, and that a given mass of the less valuable metal, silver, is a cons
fraction of a given mass of gold. From the reign of Edward III. to the time of- 
George II., the history of money in England consists of one long series of per- 
tUl'bations caused ÌJy the clashing of the legally fixed ratio between the values of 
gold and silver, with the fluctuations in their real values. At one time golù was too. 
high, at another, silver. The metal that for the time being was estimated below its 
value, was withdrawn from circulation, melted and exported. The ratio between 
the two metals was then ag
in altereti by law, but the new nominal ratio soon came- 

lJIoney, or the C'irculation of Co 11t1Jlodities. 69 

Commodities with definite prices present then1selves under 
the form: a commodity A == x gold; b commodity B == z gold; 
c comnlodity C == y gold, &c., ,vhere a, b, c, represent definite 
quantities of the commodities A, B, C and x, z, y, definite 
quantities of gold. The values of these commodities are, 
therefore, changed in imagination into so many different 
quantities of gold. Hence, in spite of the confusing variety of 
the commodities themselves, t.heir values become magnitudes 
of the san1e denmnination, gold-magnitudes. They are now 
capable of being compared ,vith each other and measured, and 
the want becomes technically felt of comparing them with 
some fixed quantity of gold as a unit measure. This unit, by 
subsequent division into aliquot parts, becomes itself the 
standard or scale. Before they become money, gold, silver, 
and copper already possess such standard measures in their 
standards of weight, so that, for example, a pound \veight, 
while serving as the unit, is, on the one hand, divisible into 
ounces, and, on the other, may be combined to make up 
hundredweights. 1 It is owing to this that, in all metallic 
currencies, the names given to the standards of money or of 
price were originally taken from the pre-existing names of the 
standards of weight. 
into conflict again with the real one. In our own times, the slight and transient 
fall in the value of gold compared with lilver, which was a consequence of the Indo- 
Chinese demand for silver. produced on a far more extended scale in France the same 
phenomena, export of lilver. and its expulsion from circulation by gold. During 
the years 1855, 1856 and 1857, the excesl in France of gold-imports over gold- 
-exports amounted to E41,5S0,OOO, while the excess of silver-exports over silver- 
imports was 
14,704.000. In fact, in those countries in which both metals are 
legally measures of value. and therefore both legal tender. so that everyone has the 
-option of paying in either metal, the metal that rises in value is at a premium, and. 
like every other commodity. meal!ures its price in the over-estimated metal which 
alone serves in reality as the standard of value. The result of all experience and 
history with regard to this question is simply that, where two commodities perform 
by law the functions of a measure of value. in practice one alone maintains that 
position." (Karl Ma.rx. 1. c. pp. 52, 53.) 
1 The peculiar circumstance. that while the ounce of gold serves in England as the 
\illit of the standard of money, the pound sterling does not form an aliquot part of it, 
has been explained a8 follows: "Our coinage was originally adapted to the employ- 
ment of silver only, hence, an ounce of silver can always be divided into a certain 
adequate number of pieces of coin; but as gold was introduced at a later period into 
a coinage adapted only to lIilver, an ounce of gold cannot be coined into an aliquot 
number of piectsS. ,. Maclaren." A Sketch of the History of the Currency." London, 
1858. p. 16. 

7 0 

Caþitalist Production. 

A s measure of value and as standard of price, money has two 
ent.irely distinct functions to perform. It is the measure 
of value inasmuch as it is the socially recogniqed incarnation 
of human labour; it is the standard of price inasmuch as it is 
a fixed weight of metal. As the measure of value it serves to 
convert the values of all the manifold commodities into prices, 
into imaginary quantities of gold; as the standard of price it 
measures those quantities of gold. The measure of values 
measures commodities considered as values; the standard of 
price measures, on the contrary, quantities of gold by a unit 
quantity of gold, not the value of one quantity of gold by the 
weight of another. In order to make gold a standard of price, 
a certain weight must be fixed upon as the unit. In this case, 
as in all cases of measuring- quantities of the same denomina- 
tion, the establishment of an unvarying unit of measure is all- 
important. Hence, the less the unit is subject to variation, so 
much the better does the standard of price fulfil its office. But 
only in so far as it is itself a product of labour, and, therefore, 
potentially variable in value, can gold serve as a measure of 
value. 1 
It is, in the first place, quite clear that a change in the value 
of gold does not, in any way, affect its function as a standard 
()f price. No matter how this value varies, the proportions 
between the values of different quantities of the metal rmnain 
constant. However great the fall in its value, 12 ounces of 
gold still have 12 times the value of 1 ounce; and in prices, 
the only thing considered is the relation between different 
quantities of gold. Since, on the other hand, no rise or fall in 
the value of an ounce of gold can alter its weight, no alteration 
can take place in the weight of its aliquot parts. Thus gold 
always renders the same service as an invariable standard of 
price, however much its value may vary. 
In the second place, a change in the value of gold does not 
interfere with its functions as a measure of value. The change 
affects all commodities simultaneously, and, therefore, cæteriø 
paribus, leaves their relative values inter $e, unaltered, although 
1 With English writers the confusion between measure of value and standard of 
price (sta.nda;d of value) is indescribable. Their funotions, &8 well as their names. 
are constantly interchRDJted. 

Money, or the C'irculalion of COlnnzodities. 7 I 
those values are now expressed in higher or lower gold- 
Just as when we estimate the value of any commodity by 
a definite quantity of the use-value of some other commodity, 
iìO in estimating the value of the former in gold, we assume 
nothing more than that the production of a given quantity of 
gold C08
, at the given perioù, a given amount of la.bour. As 
regards the fluctuations of prices generally, they are 8ubject to 
the laws of elementary relative value investigated in a former 
A general rise in the prices of commodities can result onJy, 
either from a rise in their values-the value of mone
y' remain- 
ing cODsta.nt-or from a fall in the value of nloney, the values 
of commodities remaining constant. On the other hand, a 
general faU in prices can result only, either from a faU in the 
values of commodities-the value of money remaining con- 
stant-or from a rise in the value of money, the values of 
commodities remaining constant. I t therefore by no means 
follows, tha.t a rise in the value of money necessarily implies a 
proportional faU in the prices of commodities; or that a fall in 
the value of money implies a proportional rise in prices. 
Such change of price holds good only in the case of com- 
modities whose value remains constant. vVith those, for 
example, whose value rises, simultaneously with, and propor- 
tionally to, that of money, there is no alteration in price. 
And if their value rise either slower or faster than that of 
money, the fall or rise in their prices will be determined by 
the difference between the change in their value and that of 
money; and so on. 
Let us now go back to the consideration of the price-form. 
By degrees there arises a diE3crepancy between the current 
money names of the various weights of the precious metal 
figuring as money, and the actual weights which those names 
originally represented. This discrepancy is the result of 
historica.l causes, among which the chief are :-(1) The im- 
portation of foreign money into an imperfectly developed 
community. This happened in Rome in its early days, where 
gold and silver coins circulated at first as foreign commodities. 

7 2 

Caþitalist Product-ion. 

The names of these foreign coins never coincide with those of 
the indigenous weights. (2) As wealth increases. the less 
precious metal is thrust out by the more precious from its place 
as a measure of value, copper by silver. silver by gold, however 
much this order of sequence may be in contradiction with 
poetical chronology. 1 The word pound. for instance. was the 
money-name given to an actual pound weight of silver. When 
gold replaced silver as a measure of value. the same name wa.q 
applied according to the ratio between the values of silver and 
gold. to perhaps I-15th of a pound of gold. The word pound. 
as a money-name. thus becomes differentiated from the same 
word as a weight-name. 2 (3) The debasing of money carried 
on for centuries by kings and princes to such an extent that, of 
the original weights of the coins. nothing in fact remained but 
the names. 
These historical causes convert the separation of the money- 
name from the weight-name into an established habit with the 
community. Since the standard of money is on the one hand 
purely conventional. and must on the other hand find general 
acceptance. it is in the end regulated by law. A given weight 
of one of the precious metals. an ounce of gold. for instance, 
becomes officially divided into aliquot parts. with legally 
bestowed names. such as pound. dollar. &c. These aliquot 
parts. which thenceforth serve as units of money, are then sub- 
divided into other aliquot parts with legal names, such as 
shilling. penny, &c. 4 But, both before and after these 
divisions are made, a definite weight of metal is the standard 
of metallic money. The sole alteration consists in the sub- 
division and denomination. 
1 Moreover, it has not general historical validity. 
I It is thus that the pound sterling in English denotes less than one-third of its 
()riginal weight; the pound Scot. before the union, only 1-36th; the French livre, 
I-74th; the Spanish maravedi. lesl than 1-1000th; and the Portuguese rei a still 
.maller fraction. 
S "Le monete Ie quali oggi sono ideali lúno Ie più antiche d'ogni na.zione, e tutte 
furono un tempo reali, e perchè erano reali con esse si contava." (Galiani: Della 
moneta. 1. c., p. 153.) 
4 David Urquhart remarks in hi. "Familiar 'Vords" on the monstrosity (!) that 
now-a-days a pound (sterling), which is the unit of the English standard of money, is 
equal to about a quarter of an ounce of gold. "This is falsifying a measure, not 
esta.blishing a standard." He sees in this" false denomination" of the weight of 
golù, as in everything else. the falsifying hand of civilisation. 

l1Io1ler, or the Circulatio1l. of C01Jl111'odities. 73 

The prices, or quantities of gold, into w'hich the values of 
commodities are ideally changed, are therefore nowexpreRsed 
in the names of coins, or in the legally valid nallies of the sub- 
divisions of the gold standard. Hence, instead of saying: A. 
quarter of wheat is worth an ounce of gold j we say, it is worth 
.f:3 17s. lO
d. In this way commodities express by their priC
how much they are worth, and money serves as money of 
account whenever it is a question of fixing the value of an 
article in its money-form. 1 
The naille of a thing is something distinct from the qualities 
of that thing. I kno\v nothing of a n1an, by knowing that his 
name is Jacob. In the same way with regard to money, every 
trace of a value-relation disappears in the nalnes pound, dollar, 
franc, ducat, &c. The confusion caused by attributing a hidden 
meaning to these cabalistic signs is all the greater, because 
these money-names express both the values of commoditie3. 
and, at the same time, aliquot parts of the weight of the metal 
that is the standard of Inoney. I On the other hand, it is 
absolutely necessary that value, in order that it may be distin- 
guished from the varied bodily forms of commodities, should 
assume this material and unmeaning, but, at the same time, 
purely social form. · 
1 When Anacharsis was asked for what purposes the Greeks used money, he re- 
plied, "For reckoning." (At-hen. Deipn. 1. iv. 49 v. 2. ed Schwt'ighäuser, 1802.) 
2 "Owing to the fact that money, when serving as the standard of price, appean 
under the same reckoning na.mes as do the prices of commodities, and that therefore 
the sum of 1'317s. 10ld. may signify on the one hand an ounce weight of gold, Rnd 
on the other, the value of a ton of iron, this reckoning name of money has been 
calle,l its mint-price. Hence there sprang up the extraordinary notion, that the 
value of gold is estimated in its own material, and that, in. contra-distinction to all 
othel' commoditips, its price is fixed by the State. It was erroneously thought that 
the giving of reckoning names to definite weights of gold, is the same thing as fixing 
the value of those weights." (Karl Marx. 1. c., p. 52.) 
S See ., Theorien von der :Masseinheit des Geldes "in "Zur Kritik der Pol. Oekoll. 
&c.," p. 53, øeq. The fantastic notions about raising or lowering the mint-price of 
money by transferring to greater or smaller weights of gold or silver the na.mcs already 
legally appropriated to fixed weights of those metals; such notions, at least in those 
cases in which they aim, not at clumsy financial operations against creditors, both 
public and private, but at economical quack remedies have been so exhaUl!!tively 
treated by Wm. Petty in his" Quantulumcunque concerning money: To the Lord 
Marquis of Halifax, 1682," that even his immediate followers, Sir Dudley North and 
John Locke, not to mention la.ter ones, could only dilute him. " If the wealth of :It 
nation," he remarks, "could be decupled by a proclamation, it were str&nge that 
uch proclamations have not long Rince been made by our Gov
rnors." (1. c., p. 36.. 


Caþitalist Product-ion. 

Price is the money-name of the labour realised in a commo- 
dity. Hence the expression of the equivalence of a commodity 
with the sum of money constituting its price, is a tautology,1 
just as in general the expresRion of the relative value of a 
commodity is a statement of the equivalence of two commodities. 
But although price, being the exponent of the magnitude of a 
commodity's value, is the exponent of its exchange-ratio with 
money, it does not follow that the exponent of this exchange- 
ratio is necessariJy the exponent of the magnitude of the com- 
modity's value. Suppose t,vo equal quantities of socially 
necessary labour to be respectively represented by 1 quarter 
of wheat and .:ß2 (nearly 1 oz. of gold), i2 is the expression in 
money of the magnitude of the va.lue of the quarter of wheat, 
or is itß price. If now circumsta.nces allow of this price being 
raised to L3, or compel it to be reduced to LI, then although 
LI and L3 may be too small or too great properly to express 
the magnitude of the wheat's value, nevertheless they are its 
prices, for they are, in the first place, the form under which its 
value appears, i.e., money j a.nd in the second pla.ce, the ex- 
ponents õf ita exchange-ratio with money. If the conditions 
of production, in other words, if the productive power of labour 
remain constant
 the same amount of social labour-time must, 
both before and after the change in price, be expended in the 
reproduction of a quarter of wheat. This circumstance de- 
pends, neither on the will of the wheat producer, nor on that 
of the owners of other commodities. 
Magnitude of value expresses a relation of social production, 
it expresses the connection that necessarily exists between a, 
certain article and the portion of the total labour-time of society 
required to produce it. As soon as magnitude of value is con- 
verted into price, the above necessary relation takes the shape 
of a more or less accidental exchange-ratio between a single 
commodity and another, the money-commodity. But this ex- 
change-ratio may express either the real magnitude of that 
commodity's value, or the quantity of gold deviating from that 
value, for which, according to circumstances, it may be parted 
1 "Ou bien, il taut conBentir à dire qu'une 
aleur d'un million en argent Taut plu. 
qu'une yaleur égale en marchandiseø." (Le TrOime 1. o. p. 919), which amounts to 
-.yillg "qu'une valeur Taut plU8 qu'une vnlpur b;alp." 

MOtley, or the C'irculation of Comnzodities. 75 
with. The possibility. therefore. of quantitative incongruity 
between price and magnitude of value. or the deviation of the 
former from the latter, is inherent in the price-form itself. 
This is no defect. but. on the contrary, admirably adapts the 
price-fonn to a mode of production whose inherent laws impose 
themselves only as the mean of apparently la wIess irregulari- 
ties that compensate one another. 
The price-form, however. is not only compatible with the 
possibility of a quantitative incongruity between magnitude 
of value and price. i.e., between the former and its expression 
in money. but it may also conceal a qualitative inconsistency, so 
much so, that, although money is nothing but the value-form of 
commodities.. price ceases altogether to express value. Objects 
thatin themselves are no commodities, such asconscience,honour, 
c... are capable of being offered for sale by their holders. and 
of thus acquiring. through their price.. the form of commodities. 
Hence an object may have a price without having value. The 
price in that case is imaginary. like certain quantities in mathe- 
matics. On the other hand, the imaginary price-form may 
sometimes conceal either a direct or indirect real value-relation; 
for instance. the price of uncultivated land. which is without 
value, because no human labour has been incorporated in it. 
Price, like relative value in general, expresses the value of 
a commodity (e.g., a ton of iron), by stating that a given quan- 
tity of the equivalent (e.g., an ounce of gold). is directly ex- 
changeable for iron. But it by no means states the converse, 
that iron is directly exchangeable for gold. In order. there- 
fore, that a commodity may in practice act effectively as ex- 
change value. it must quit its bodily shape. must transform it- 
self tì'om mere imaginary into real gold, although to the commo- 
dity such transubstantiation may be more difficult than to the 
Hegelian cc concept," the transition from ce necessity" to e, free- 
dom." or to a lobster the casting of his shell, or to Saint Jerome 
the putting off of the old Adam. l Though ã commodity may.. 
1 Jerome bad to wrestle hard, not only in his youth with the bodily flesh. &Ø ia 
shown by his fight in the desert with the handsome women of his imagination. but 
also in his old age with the spirituø.l flesh. U I thotlght," be says, U I was in the 
spirit before the Juùge of the Universe." uWho art thou 1 '. asked a yoice. " I am 
a Christian." uThou liest," thundered back the tITea.t Judge. "thou art nougbt bu
a Ciceronian." 


Caþ-itùlist Product-ion. 

side by side with its actual form (iron, for instance), take in 
our imagination the form of gold, yet it cannot at one and the 
same time actually be both iron and gold. T() fix its price, it 
sutfices to equate it to gold in imagination.' But to enable it to 
render to its owner the service of a universal equivalent, it 
mU8t be actually replaced by gold. If the owner of the iron 
ere to go to the owner of some other cornmodityoffered for 
exchange, and were to refer him to the price of the iron as 
proof that it was already money, he would get the same 
answer as St. Peter gave in heaven to Dante, \vhen the latter 
recited the creed- 

" Assai bene è trascorsa 
D'esta moneta già la lega e'! peso, 
Ma dinlmi se tu l'hai nella tua borsa." 
A price therefore implies both that a commodity is exchange- 
able for money, and also that it must be so exchanged. On 
the other hand, gold serves as an ideal measure of value, o
because it has already, in the process of exchange, established 
itself as the money-commodity. Under the ideal Ineasure of 
values there lurks the hard cash. 


a. The},[ etalnorphoBis of Cornmodities. 
We saw in a former chapter that the exchange of commodi- 
ties implies contradictory and mutually exclusive conditions. 
The differentiation of commodit.ies into commodities and money 
does not sweep away these inconsistencies, but developes 
a modu8 vivendi, a form in which they can exist side by side. 
This is generally the way in \vhich real contradictions are 
reconciled. For instance, it is a contradiction to depict one 
body as constantly falling towards another, and as, at the same 
time, constantly flying a\vay from it. The ellipse is a form of 
motion which, while allo\ving this contradiction to go on, at the 
same time reconciles it. . 
In so far as exchange is a process, by which cùmmodities are 
transferred from hands in which they are non-use-values, to 
hands in which they become use-values, it is a social circula- 
tion of matter. The proùuct of one form of useful labour 

l1Io1le)', or the Ctrculation of C01n1J10ditzes. 77 
replaces that of another. \Vhen once a cOlnmodity has found 
a resting-place, where it can serve as a use-value, it falls out 
of the sphere of exchange into that of consumption. But the 
r sphere alone interests us at present. \Ve have, there- 
fore, now to consider exchange from a formal point of view; to 
investigate the change of form or metamorphosi
 of commodi- 
ties ,vhich effectuates the social circulation of matter. 
The comprehension of this change of form is, as a rule, very 
ilnperfect. The cause of this imperfection is, apart fron1 indis- 
tinct notions of value itself, that every change of form in a 
comn1odity results from the exchange of two commoùities, an 
ordinary one anù the money-commodity. If we keep in vie\v the 
Inaterial fact alone thataconlmodity has been exchanged for gold, 
'ye overlook the very thing that we ought to observe-namely, 
what has happened to the form of the commodity. \Ve overlook 
the facts that gold, when a mere commodity, is not money, and 
that when other commodities express their prices in gold, this 
gold is but the money-form of those commodities themselves. 
Commodities, flrst of all, enter into the process of exchange 
just as they are. The process then differentiates them into 
commodities and money, and thus produces an external oppo- 
sition corresponding to the internal opposition inherent in 
them, as being at once use-values and values. Commodities as 
use-values now stand opposed to money as exchange value. 
On the other hand, both opposing sides are commodities, 
unities of use-value and value. But this unity of differences 
nlanifests itself at two opposite poles, and at each pole in an 
opposite way. Being poles they are as necessarily opposite as 
they are connected. On the one side of the equation we have 
an ordinary commodity, which is in reality a use-value. Its 
yalue is expressed only ideally in it.
 price, by which it is 
equated to its opponent, the gold, as to the real embodiment 
of its value. On the other hand, the gold, in its metallic 
reality, ranks as the embodiment of value, as money. Gold, 
as gold, is exchange value itself. As to its use-value, that has 
only an ideal existence, represented by the series of expres- 
sions of relative value in which it stands face to face with all 
other commodities, the sum of whose uses makes up the sum 


Caþitalist Production. 

of the various uses of go]d. These antagonistic forms of com- 
modities are the real forms in which the process of their 
exchange moves and takes place. 
Let us now accompany the owner of some commodity-sa)r, 
our old friend the weaver of linen-to the scene of action, the - 
market. His 20 yards of linen has a definite price, 
2. He 
exchanges it for the 
2, and then, like a man of the good old 
stamp that he is, be parts with the 
2 for a family Bible of the 
same price. The linen, which in his eyes is a mere commodity, 
a depoHitory of value, he alienates in exchange for gold, which 
is the linen's value-form, and this form he again parts with for 
another commodity, the Bible, which is destined to enter his 
house as an object of utility and of ed.ification to its inmates. 
The exchange becomes an accomplished fact by two metamor- 
phoses of opposite yet supplementary character-the conversion 
of the commodity into money, and the re-conversion of the 
money into a commodity.l The two phases of this metamor- 
phosis are both of them distinct transactions of the wea ver- 
selling, or the exchange of the commodity for money; buying, 
or the exchange of the money for a commodity j and, the unity 
of the two acts, selling in order to buy. 
The result of the whole transaction, as regards the weaver, 
is this, that instead of being in possession of the linen, he now 
bas the Bible; instead of his original commodity, he now 
possesses another of the same value but of different utility. 
In like manner he procures his other means of subsistence and 
means of production. From his point of view, the whole process 
effectuates nothing more than the exchange of the produet of 
bis labour for the product of some one else's, nothing more than 
an exchange of products. 
The exchange of commodities is therefore accompanied by 
the following changes in their form. 
The result of tbe whole process is, 80 far as concerns the 
I U i" 

øû . . . . . . fl'UPÒ' å'i'T"I'-.íf!H.,Ia., ""''T<<. ,.,,,Z,. 'Hp..ÀI'
.', ,,"z ..û, 
tffl"p xpu,øû xp
",a.'TDf. "tt.ì 7<-P""'"'T6I' XpU"D'. JJ (F. lAssalle : Die Philosophio 
Herakleitol des Dunkeln. Berlin, 1845. Vol. I. p. 222.) Laslallø, in his note on 
ihis passage, p. 224, n. 3, erroneously makes gold a mere symbol of Talue. 

lIIoney, or the Ct:rculatt:on of Commodities. 79 

objects themselves, C-C. the exchange of one commodity for 
another, the circulation of materialised social labour. When 
this result is attained. the process is at an end. 
a-Me First mtfamorphosü, or sale. 
The leap taken by value from the body of the commodity, 
into the body of the gold, is, as I have elsewhere caned it, the 
saIto mortale of the commodity. If it falls short, then, although 
the commodity itself is not harmed, its owner decidedly is. 
The social division of labour causes his labour to be as one-sided 
as his wants are many-sided. This is precisely the re3ßon why 
the product of his labour serves him solely as exchange value. 
But it cannot acquire the properties of a socially recognised 
universal equivalent, except by being convertod into money. 

rhat money, however, is in some one else's pocket. In order to 
entice the money ou t of that pocket, our friend's commodity 
must, above all things, be a use-value to the owner of the 
money. For this, it is necessary that the labour expended upon 
it, be of a kind that is socially useful, of a kind that constitutea 
a branch of the social division of labour. But division of labour 
is a system of production which has grown up spontaneously 
and continues to gro\v behind the backs of the producers. The 
commodity to be exchanged may possibly be the product of 
some new kind of labour, that pretends to satisfy newly arisen 
requirements, or even to give rise itself to new requirements. A 
particular operation, though yesterday, perhaps, forming one out 
of the many operations conducted by one producer in creating a 
given commodity,may to-day separate itself from this connection, 
may establish itself as an independent branch of labour and send 
its incomplete product to market as an independent commodity. 
The circumstances mayor may not be ripe for such a separation. 
To-day the product satisfies asocial want. To-morrow tbearticle 
may, either altogether or partially, be superseded by some other 
appropriate product. Moreover, although our weaver's labour 
may be a recognised branch of the social division of labouI þ 
yet that fact is by no means sufficient to guarantee the utility 
of his 20 yards of linen. lfthe community's want of linen, and 
fluch a want has a limit like every other want, should already 


Caþzlalist Production. 

be saturated by the products of rival weaver
, our friend's 
product is superfluous, redundant, and consequently useless. 
Although people do not look a gift-horse in the mouth, our 
friend does not frequent the market for the purpose of making 
presents. But suppose his product turn out a real use-value, 
and thereby attracts money? The question arises, ho\v n1uch 
will it attract ? No ùoubt the answer is already anticipatè(l 
in the price of the article, in the exponent of the magnitude of 
its value. \Ve leave out of consideration here any accidental 
miscalculation of value by our friend, a Inistake that is soon 
rectified in the market. \Ve suppose him to have spent on his 
product onl)'" that amount of labour-time that is on an average 
socially nepessary. The price then, is merely the money-nan1e 
of the quancity of social labour realised in his commodity. But 
without the leave, and behind the back, of our weaver, the 
old fashioned mode of ,veaving undergoes a change. The labollr- 
time that yesterday was 'without doubt socially necessary to 
the production of a yard of linen, ceases to be 80 to-day, a fact 
which the owner of the money is only too eager to prove from 
the prices quoted by our friend's competitors. Unluckily for 
him, weavers are not few and far between. Lastly, suppose 
that every piece of linen in the market contains no more labour- 
time than is socially necessary. In spite of this, all these pieces 
taken as a whole, may have had superfluous labour-time spent 
upon them. If the market cannot stomach the whole quantity 
at the normal price of 2 shillings a yard. this proves that too 
great a portion of the total labour of the community has been 
expended in the form of weaving. The effect is the same as if 
each individual weaver had expended more labour-time upon 
his particular product than is socially necessarr. Here we may 
say, with the German proverb: caught together, hung together. 
All the linen in the market counts but as one article of commerce, 
of which each piece is only an aliquot part. And as a matter 
of fact, the value also of each single yard is but the nlateriali8ed 
form of the same definite and socially fixed quantity of homo- 
geneous human labour. 
We see then, commodities are in love with money" but Ie the 
course of true love never did run smooth." The quantitative 

lIf01ley, or the Clrculation of Conzmodities. 8 I 

division of labour is brought about in exactly the same spon- 
taneous and accidental manner as its qualitative division. The 
o,vners of commodities therefore find out, that the same divi- 
sion of labour that turns them into independent private 
producers, also frees the social process of production and the 
relations of the individual producers to each other within that 
process, from all dependence on the will of those producers, 
and that the seeming mutual independence of the individuals' is 
supplemented by a system of general and mutual dependence 
through or by means of the products. 
The division of labour converts the product of labour into a. 
commodity, and thereby makes necessary its further conversion 
into llloney. At the same time it also makes the accomplish- 
ment of this trans-substantiation quite accidental Here, ho,v- 
ever, we only concerned with the phenomenon in its 
integrity, anc1 we therefore assume its progress to be normal. 
Moreover, if the conversion take place at all, that is, if the 
commodity be not absolutely unsaleable, its metamorphosis 
does take place although the price realised may be abnormally 
above or below the value. 
The seller has his commodity replaced by gold, the buyer 
has his gold replaced by a commodity. The fact which here 
stares us in the face is, that a commodity and gold, 20 yards 
of linen and L2, have changed hands and places, in other words, 
that they have been exchanged. But for what is the com- 
modity exchanged 1 For the shape assumed by its own value, 
for the universal equivalent. And for what is the gold 
exchanged? For a particular form of its own use-value. 
Why does gold take the form of money face to face with the 
linen? Because the linen's price of L2, its denomination in 
money, has already equated the linen to gold in its character 
of money. A commodity strips off its original commodity-forlll 
on being alienated, i.e., on the instant its use-value actually 
attracts the gold, that before existed only ideally in its price. 
The realisation of a commodity's price, or of its ideal value- 
form, is therefore at the same time the realisation of the ideal 
use-value of money; the conversion of a commodity into 
money, is the simultaneous conversion of money into a com- 


Caþitalist Producti01t. 

modity. The apparently single process is in reality a doulle 
one. From the pole of the commodity owner it is a sale, from 
the opposite pole of the money owner, it is a purchase. In 
other words, a sale is a purchase, C-M is also M-C.l. 
Up to this point we have considered men in only one econo- 
mical capacity, that of owners of commodities, a capacity in 
,vhich they appropriate the produce of the labour of others, by 
alienating that of their own labour. Hence, for one commodity 
owner to meet with another who has money. it is necessary, 
either, that the product of the labour of the latter person, the 
buyer, should be in itself money, should be gold, the material 
of which money consists, or that his product should already 
have changed its skin and have stripped off its original form 
of a useful object. In order that it may play the part ot 
money, gold must of course enter the market at Borne point or 
other. This point is to be found at the source of production 
of the metal, at which place gold is bartered, as the immediate 
product of labour, for some other product of equal value. 
From that moment it always represents the realised price of 
some commodity.s Apart from its exchange for o'ther con1- 
modities at the source of its production, gold, in whose-so-ever 
hands it may be, is the transformed shape of some commodity 
alienated by its owner; it is the product of a sale or of the first 
metamorphosis C-
1.8 Gold, as we saw, became ideal money, 
or a measure of values, in consequence of all commodities 
measuring their values by it, and thus contrasting it ideally 
with their natural shape 

 useful objects, anf.! making it the 
shape of their value. I t became real money, by the general 
alienation of commodities, by actually changing places with their 
natural forms as useful objects, and thus becoming in reality 
the embodiment of their values. When they assume- this 
money-shape, commodities strip off every trace of their natural 
use-value, and of the particular kind of labour to which they 
1 "Toute vente est acha.t. n (Dr. Queønay: "Dialogues Bur Ie Oommerce et ICI 
Trava.ux des Artisans." Physiocrates ed. Daire I. Pa.rtie, Paris, 1846. p. 170), or as 
Quesnay in his "Ma.ximes générales" puts it, "Vendre eat acheter." 
2 "Le prix d'une marchandise nepouvant être payé que par Ie prix d'uneautre mar- 
chandise." (Mercier de la Rivière: "L'Ordre naturel et essentiel des 80ciétés poU. 
tiq(ies." Physiocra.tes, ed. Daire II. Partie, p. 554). 
B "Pour avoir cot argent. il faut avoir vendu," 1. 0.. p. 543. 

lJfoney, or the Czrculatz'on of Commodities. 83 

()we their creation, in order to transform themselves into the 
uniform, socially recognised incarnation of homogeneous human 
labour. We cannot tell from the mere look of a piece of 
money, for what particular commodity it has been exchanged. 
Under their money-form all commodities look alike. Hence, 
money may be dirt, although dirt is not money. We will 
assume that the two gold pieces, in consideration of which our 
weaver has parted with his linen, are the metamorphosed shape 
of a quarter of wheat. The sale of the linen, C-M, is at the 
same time its purchase, M-O. But the sale is the first act of 
a process that ends with a transaction of an opposite nature, 
namely, the purcha.c;;e of a Bible j the purchase of the linen, on 
the other hand, ends a movement that began with a transac- 
tion of an opposite nature, namely, with the sa.le of the wheat. 
C-M (linen-money), which is the first phase of C-M-C 
(linen-money-Bible), is also 1\1-0 (money-linen), the last 
phase of another movement C-M-C (wheat-money-linen). 
The first metamorphosis of one commodity, its transforma- 
tion from a commodity into money, is therefore also invariably 
the second metamorphosis of some other commodity, the re- 
transformation of the latter from money into a commodity.l 

J11-0, or purchase. The ßecond and concludiflg metamor- 
phosis of a com1nodity. 
Because money is the metamorphosed shape of all otber 
commodities, the result of their general alienation, for this 
reason it is alienable itself without restriction or condition. 
I treads alJ prices backwards, and thus, so to Ray, depicts itself 
in the bodies of all other commodities, which offer to it the 
J11aterial for the realisation of its own use-value. At the same 
tilne the prices, wooing glances cast at money by commodities, 
define the limits of its convertibility, by pointing to its quantity. 
Since every commodity, on becoming money, dibappears as a 
c.ommodity, it is impossible to tell from the money itself, hO"\y 
it got into the hands of its possessor, or what article has been 
changed into it. N o
 oIet, from whatever source it may come. 
1 As before remarked, the actual producer of gold or silver forms an exception. H. 
..exchanges his product directly for another commodity, without having first sold it. 


Caþitalist Productz:on. 

Representing on the one hand a sold commodity, it represents 
on the other a commodity to be bought.! 
M-C, a purchase, is, at the same time, C-M, a sale; the con- 
cluding metamorphosis of one cOlnlnodity is the first metamor- 
phosis of another. With regard to our weaver, the life of his 
commodity ends with the Bible, into which he has reconverted 
his æ2. But suppose the seller of the Bible turns the L2 set 
free by the weaver into brandy. M-C, the concluding phase 
of C-M-C (linen, money, Bible), is also C-:M:, the first phase 
of O-M-C (Bible, money, brandy). The producer of a par- 
ticular commodity has that one article alone to offer; this he 
sells very often in large quantities, but his many and various 
,vants compel him to split up the price realised, the sum or 
money set free, into numerous purchases. Hence a sale leads 
to many purchases of various articles. The concluding rneta- 
IDorphosis of a commodity thus constitutes an aggregation of 
first metamorphoses of various other commodities. 
If we now consider the completed metamorphosis of a com- 
Inodity, P.fJ a whole, it appears in the first place, that it is made. 
up of two opposite and complementary moyements, C-M and 

l-C. These two antithetical transmutations of a 'colnmodity 
are brought about by two antithetical social acts on the part 
of the owner, and these acts in their turn stamp the character- 
of the economical parts played by him. As the person ,vho 
Inakes a sale, he is a seller; as the person who Inakes a pur- 
chase, he is a buyer. But just as, upon every such transmu- 
iAtion of ß commodity, its two forms, commodity-form and 
llloney-foml, exist simultaneously but at opposite poles, so 
every seHer has a buyer opposed to him, and every buyer a 
seller. While one particular commodity is going tbrough its 
two transmutations in succession, froln a commodity into 
Inoney and from money into another commodity, the owner of 
the commodity changes in succession his part from that of 
f'eller to that of buyer. These characters of seller and buyer 
are therefore not permanent, but attach themselves in turns to. 
the various persons engaged in the circulation of commodities. 
1 u Si l'argcnt repréBente, da.ns nOI mains, leø cboses que nous pouvons désirer 
dJa.cheter, n 'I représente ßusBi les choses que nous avons vendues pour cet ar
ent ,J 
t.Ucrcier de Ie. Ri vière L o. 

Alone)', or the Circulation of CO'lJl1Jloditz'es. 85 

The complete metamorphosis of a commodity, in its sim}->lest 
form, implies four extremes, and three dramatis personæ. 
First, a commodity comes face to face with money; the latter 
is the form taken by the value of the former, and exists in all 
its hard reality, in the pocket of the buyer. A commodity- 
o,vner is thus brought into contact with a possessor of money. 
So soon, now, as the cornmodity has been changed into 
money, the money becolnes its transient equivalent-form, the 
use-value of ,vhich equivalent-form is to be found in the 
bodies of other commodities. Money, the final term of the 
first transmutation, is at the same time the starting point for 
the second. The person who is a seller in the first transac- 
tion thus becolnes a buyer in the second, in which a third 
commodity-owner appears on the scene as a seller. l 
The two phases, each inverse to the other, that make up th6 
metamorphosis of a commodity constitute together a circular 
movement, a circuit: commodity-form, stripping off of this 
form, and return to the commodity-form. No doubt, the com- 
modity appears here under t,vo different aspects. At the start- 
ing point it is not a use-value to its owner; at the finishing 
point it is. So, too, the money appears in the first phase as a 
solid crystal of value, a crystal into 'v hich the commodity 
eagerly solidifies, and in the second, dissolves into the mere 
transient equivalent-form destined to be replaced by a use- 
val ue. 
The two metamorphoses constituting the circuit are at the 
saIne time two inverse partial metamorphoses of two other 
commodities. One and the same commodity, the linen, opens the 
series of its own metanlorphoses, and completes the metamor- 
phosis of another (the ,vheat). In the first phase or sale, the linen 
plays these t,vo parts in its own person. But, then, changed 
into gold, it completes iæ own second and final metamorphosis, 
and helps at the same time to accomplish the first metamor- 
phosis of a third commodity. Hence the circuit made by one 
commodity in the course of its metamorphoses is inextricably 
mixed up with the circuits of other commodities. The total 

1 "II y ø. done . . . quatre terme. et trois contractantSa dont l'un inteJ'vient deux 
fois" (Le TI'OBI
e 1 e 1) 90fl' 


Caþitalist Productz"OlZ. 

of all the different circuits constitutes the circulation of com- 
The circulation of commodities differs from the direct ex- 
change of products (barter), not only in form, but in substance. 
Only consider the course of events. The weaver has, as a 
matter of fact, exchanged his linen for a Bible, his own com- 
modity for that of some one else. But this is true only so far 
as he himself is concerned The seller of the Bible, who prefers 
something to warm his inside, no more thought of exchanging 
his Bible for linen than our weaver knew that wheat had been 
exchanged for his linen. B's commodity replaces that of A, 
but A and B do not mutually exchange those commodities. 
It may, of course, happen that A and B make simultaneous 
purchases, the one from the other; but Buch exceptional trans- 
 are by no means the necessary result of the general con- 
ditions of the circulation of commodities. We see here, on 
the one hand, how the exchange of commodities breaks through 
all local and personal bounds inseparable from direct barter, and 
develops the circulation of the products of social labour; and 
on the other hand, how it develops a whole network of social 
relations spontaneous in their growth and entirely beyond the 
control of the actors. It is only because the farmer has sold 
his wheat that the weaver is enabled to sell his linen, only 
because the weaver has sold his linen that our Hotspur is 
enabled to sell his Bible, and only because the latter has Bold 
the water of everlasting life that the distiller is enabled to sell 
his eau-de-vie, and so on. 
The process of circulation, tberefore, does not, like direct 
barter of products, become extinguished upon the use values 
changing places and hands. The money does not vanish on 
dropping out of the circuit of the metamorphosis of a given 
commodity. It is constantly being precipitated into new 
places in the arena of circulation vacated by other commodities. 
In the complete metamorphosis of the linen, for example, linen- 
money-Bible, the linen first faUs out of circulation, and money 
steps into its place. Then the Bible faHs out of circulation, and 
again money takes its place. When one commodity replaces 
another, the money commodity always sticks to the hands of 

Money, or the C'irculatzon of COl1Z11Zodities. 87 

Borne third person. 1 Circulation sweats Inoney from every 
Nothing can be more childish than the dogma, that because 
evocy sale is a purchase, and every purchase a sale, therefore 
the circulation of commodities necessarily implies an equili- 
brium of sales and purchases. If this means that the number 
of actual sales is equal to the number of purchases, it is mere 
tautology. But its real purport is to prove that every seller 
brings his buyer to market with him. Nothing of the kind. 
The sale and the purchase constitute one identical act, an 
exchange between a commodity-owner and an owner of money, 
between two persons as opposed to each other as the two poles 
of a magnet. They form two distinct acts, of polar and 
opposite characters, when performed by one single person. 
Hence the identity of sale and purchase implies that the 

mmodity is useless, if, on being thrown into the alchemistical 
t retort of circulation, it does not come out again in the shape 
.J of money; it: in other words, it cannot be sold by its OVlner, and 
bherefore be bought by the owner of the money. That identity 
further implies that the exchange, if it do take place, constitutes 
a period of rest, an interval, long or short, in the life of the 
commodity. Since the first metamorphosis of a commodity is 
at once a sale and a purchase, it is also an independent process 
in itself: The purchaser has the commodity, the seller has the 
money, i.e., a commodity ready to go into circulation at any 
time. No one can sell unless some one else purchases. But no 
one is forthwith bound to purchase, because he has just sold. 
Circulation bursts through all restrictions as to tin1e, place, and 
individuals, imposed by direct barter, and this it effects by 
splitting up, into the antithesis of a sale and a purchase, the 
direct identity that in barter does exist between the alienation 
of one's own and the acquisition of some other man's product. 
To say that these two independent and antithetical acts have 
an intrinsic unity, are essentially one, is the same as to say 
that this intrinsic oneness expresses itself in an external 
antithesis. If the interval in time between the two comple.. 

1 Self-evident as thiø may be, it is nevertheless for the most part unobserved by 
political economists, a.nd especially by the" Freetrader Vulgaris." - 


Caþz:talzst Production. 

mentary phases of the complete metamorphosis of a commodity 
become too great, if the split between the sale and the purchase 
become too pronounced, the intimate connexion between them, 
their oneness, asserts itself by producing-a crisis. The 
antithesis, use-value and value; the contradictions that private 
labour is bound to manifest itself as direct social labour, that a 
particularized concrete kind of labour has to pass for abstract 
human labour; the contradiction between the personification 
of objects and the representation of persons by things; all these 
antitheses and contradictions, which are immanent in com- 
modities, assert themselves, and develop their modes of motion, 
in the antithetical phaRes of the metamorphosis of a commodity. 
These modes therefore imply the possibility, and no more than 
the possibility, of crises. The conversion of this mere possibility 
into a reality is the result of a long series of relations, that, 
from our present standpoint of simple circulation, have as yet 
no existence. 1 

b The cU'l>'r'
ncyt of ?noney. 
The change of form, C-1tf-C, by ,vhich the circulation of 
the material products of labour is brought about, requires that 
a given value in the shape of a commodity shall begin the pro- 
cess, and shall, also in the shape of a commodity, end it. The 
ent of the commodity is therefore a circuit. On the 
other hand, the form of this movement precludes a circuit from 

1 See my observations on James Mill in "Zur Kritik, &c.," p. 74-76. With regaria 
to this subject, we may notice two methods characteristic of apologetic economy. 'I'he 
first is the identification of the circulation of commodities with the direct barter of 
products. by simple abstraction from their points of difference; the second is, the 
attempt to explain away the contradictions of capitalist production. by reducing the 
relations between the persons engaged in that mode of production, to the simple rela- 
tions arising out of the circulation of commodities. The production and circulation 
of commodities are. however. phenomena that occmr to a greater or less extent in 
modes of production the most diverse. If we are acquainted with nothing but the 
abstract categories of circulation, which are common to all these modes of production, 
we cannot possibly know anything of the specific points of difference of those modes, 
nor pronounce any judgment upon them. In no science is such a big fuss made with 
commonplace truisms as in political economy. For instance, J. B. Say sets himself 
up as a judge of crises. because. forsooth. he knows that a commodity is a product. 
2 Translator's note.-This word is here used in its original signification of the 
course or track pursued by money as it changes from hand to hand, a course which 
essentially differs from circulation. 

l1I01l_)', or tht CZ1'culatz01t of C01Jznzodities. 89 
Deing n1ade by the n10ney. The result is not the return of the 
Inoney, but its continued ren10val further and further away 
from its starting-point. So long as the seller sticks fast to his 
money, which is the transformed shape of his commodity, that 
conllliodity is still in the first phase of its metamorphosis, and 
lIas completed only half its course. But so soon as he com- 
pletes the process, so soon as he supplen1ents his sale by a pur- 
chase, the money again leaves the hands of its possessor. It 
is true that if the weaver, after buying the Bible, sell more linen, 
money comes back into his hands. But this return is not 
owing to the circulation of the first 20 yards of linen; that cir- 
culation resulted in the money getting into the hands of the 
seller of the Bible. The return of n10ney into the hands of the 
,veaver is brought about only by the renewal or repetition of 
the process of circulation with a fresh commodity, which 
renewed process ends with the same result as its predecessor 
did. Hence the movement directly imparted to money by the 
circulation of commodities takes the form of a constant motion 
away from its starting-point, of a course from the hands of one 
commodity owner into those of another. This course consti- 
tutes its currency (cours de la monnaie). 
The currency of money is the constant and monotonous re- 
petition of the same proceHS. The commodity is always in the 
hands of the seller; the money, as a means of purchase, al"Ylays 
in the hands of the buyer. And money serves as a n1eans of 
purchase by realising the price of the commodity. This reali- 
sation transfers the commodity from the seller to the buyer, 
and removes the money from the hands of the buyer into those 
of the seller, where it again goes through the same process with 
another commodity. That this one-sided character of the 
money's motion arises out of the two-sided character of the 
commodity's motion, is a circumstance that is veiled over. The 
very nature of the circulation of commoàities begets the op- 
posite appearance. The first metamorphosis of a commodity is 
visibly, not only the money's moven1ent, but also that of the 
commodity itself; in the second metamorphosis, on the con- 
trary, the movement appears to us as the movement of the 
money alone. In the first phase of its circulation the com- 

9 0 

Caþitalist Productzon. 

modity changes place with the money. Thereupon the com- 
modity, under its aspect of a useful object, falls out of 
circulation into consumption. l In its stead we have its value- 
shape-the money. It then goes through the second phase of 
its circulation, not under its own natural shape, but under the 
shape of money. The continuity of the movement is therefore 
kept up by the money alone, and the same movement that as 
regards the commodity consists of two processes of an anti- 
thetical character, is, when considered as the movement of 
the money, always one and the same process, a continued 
change of places with ever fresh commodities. Hence the 
result brought about by the circulation of commodities, namely, 
the replacing of one commodity by another, takes the appear- 
ance of having been effected not by means of the change of 
form of the commodities, but rather by the money acting as a 
medium of circulation, by an action that circulates commodi- 
ties, to all appearance motionless in themselves, and transfers 
them from hands in which they are non-use-values, to hands in 
which they are use-values; and that in a direction constantly 
opposed to the direction of the money. The latter is con. 
tinually withdrawing commodities from circulation und step.. 
ping into their places, and in this way continually moving 
further and further from its starting-point. Hence, although 
the "movement of the money is merely the expressIon of 
the circulation of commodities, yet the contrary appears to be 
the actual fact, and the circulation of commodities seems to be 
the result of the movement of the money.' 
Again, money functions as a means of circula
ion, only 
because in it the values of commodities have independent 
reality. Hence its moven1ent, as the medium of circulation, is, 
in fact, merely the movement of commodities while changing 
their forms. This fact must therefore make itself plainly visible 
in the currency of n1oney. The twofold change of form in a 

1 Even" hen the commodity is sold over and over again, a phenomenon that at 
present has no existence for us, it falls, when definitely 80ld for the last time, out of 
the sphere of circulation into that of consumption, where it serves either as means of 
lubsistence or means of production. 
2 "n (l'argent) n'a d'autre mouvement que celui qui lui est imprimé par les pro-- 
ductions." (Le Trosne I.e. p. 885.) 

lIIo1tey, or the Circulation of Conzmodities. 9 I 

commodity is reflected in the twice repeated change of place of 
the same piece of money during the complete metamorphosis of 
a commodity, and in its constantly repeated change of place, 
as metamorphosis follows metamorphosis, and each becomes 
interlaced with the others. 
The linen, for instance, first of all exchanges its commodity.. 
form for its money-form. The last term of its first metamor- 
phOSIS (C-
1), or the money-form, is the first term of its final 
metamorphosis (1\I-C), of its re-conversion into a useful comIno- 
dity, the Bible. But each of these changes of form is accom.. 
plished by an exchange bet,veen commodity and money, by 
their reciprocal displacement. The same pieces of coin, in the 
first act, changed places with the linen, in the second, with the 
Bible. They are displaced twice. The :first metanlorphosis 
puts them into the weaver's pocket, the second draws them out 
of it. The two inverse changes undergone by the same com- 
modity are reflected in the displacement, t,vice repeated, but 
in opposite directions, of the same pieces of coin. 
If, on the éontrary, only one phase of the metamorphosis is 
gone through, if there are only sales or only purchases, then a 
given piece of money changes its place only once. Its second 
change corresponds to and expresses the second metamorphosis 
of the commodity, its re-conversion from money into another 
commodity intended for use. It is a matter of course, that all 
this is applicable to the simple circulation of commodities 
alone, the only fOrIn that we are now considering. 
Every commodity, when it first steps into circulation, and 
undergoes its first change of form, does so onl
r to fall out of 
circulation again and to be replaced by other commodities. 

Ioney, on the contrary, as the medium of circulation, keeps 
continually within the sphere of circulation, and moves about 
in it. The question therefore arises, how much money this 
sphere constantly absorbs? 
 given country there take place every day at the same 
time, but in different localities, numerous one-sided metamor- 
phoses of commodities, or, in other words, numerous sales and 
numerous purchases. The commodities are equated before- 
hand in imagination, by their prices, to definite quantities of 

9 2 

Caþitalist Product-lolz. 

money. And since, in the form of circulation now under con- 
sideration, money and commodities always come bodily face to 
face, one at the positive pole of purchase, the other at the 
negative pole of sale, it is clear that the amount of the means 
of circulation required, is determined beforehand by the sum of 
the prices of all these commodities. As a matter of fact, the 
money in reality represents the quantity or sum of gold ideally 
expressed beforehand by the sum of the prices of the com- 
n10dities. The equality of these two sums is therefore self- 
evident. We know, however, that, the values of commodities 
remaining constant, their prices vary with the value of gold 
(the material of money), rising in proportion as it falls, and 
falling in proportion as it rises. Now if, in consequence of 
such a rise or fall in the value of gold, the sun1 of the prices of 
commodities fall or rise, the quantity of money in currency 
Inust fall or rise to the same extent. The change in the 
quantity of the circulating medium is, in this case, it is true, 
caused by the money itself, yet not in virtue of its function 
as a mediuln of circulation, but of its function as a measure of 
value. First, the price of the commodities varies inversely 
as the value of the money, and then the quantity of the 
medium of circulation varies directly as the price of the 
commodities. Exactly the saIne thing would happen if, for 
instance, instead of the value of gold falling, gold were replaceil 
by silver as the measure of value, or if, instead of the value of 
silver rising, gold were to thrust silver out from being the 
measure of value. In the one case, more silver would be 
current than gold ,vas before; in the other case, less gold 
would be current than silver was before. In each case the 
value of the n1aterial of money, i.e., the value of the COlTI- 
modity that serves as the measure of value, would have unùer- 
gone a change) and therefore so, too, would the prices of COln- 
modities which express their values in money, and so, too, 
,vould the quantity of money current whose function it is to 
realise those prices. We bave already seen, that the sphere of 
circulation bas an opening through ,vhich gold (or the material 
of money generally) enters into it as a commodity ,vith a given 
value Hence, when money enters on its functions as a 

l1Iolley, ùr the CirculatÙn1, of C01Jl1J10dities. 93 

measure of value, \vhen it 
xpresses prices, its value is already 
determined. If no\y its value fall, this fact is first evidenced 
by a change in the prices of those cOlnmodities that are 
directly bartered for the precious metals at the sources of 
their production. The greater part of all other commodities) 
especially in the imperfectly developed stages of civil society, 
will continue for a long tinle to be estinlated by the fOrIller 
antiquated and illusory value of the measure of value. 
Nevertheless, one commodity infects another through their 
common value-relation, so that their prices, expressed in gold 
or in silver, gradually settle down into the proportions deter- 
mined by their comparative values, until finally the values of 
all commodities are estimated in terms of the new value of the 
metal that constitutes money. This process is accompanied by 
the continued increase in the quantity of the precious metals, 
an increase caused by their streaming in to replace the articles 
directly bartered for them at their sources of production. In 
proportion therefore as commodities in general acquire their 
true prices, in pI'oportion as their values become estimated 
according to the fallen value of the precious metal, in the 
same proportion the quantity of that metal necessary for realis- 
ing those new prices is provided beforehand. A one-sided 
observation of the results that followed upon the discovery of 
fresh supplies of gold and silver, ]ed some economists in the 
17th, and particularly in the 18th century, to the false con- 
clusion) that the prices of commodities had gone up in conse- 
quence of the increased quantity of gold and silver serving as 
means of circulation. Henceforth ,ve shall consider the value 
of gold to be given, as, in fact, it is momentarily whenever we 
estimate the pl'ice of a commodity. 
On this supposition then, the quantity of the mediulTI of 
circulation is determined by the Bum of the prices that have to 
be realised. If now we further suppose the price of each com- 
modity to be given, the sum of the prices clearly depends on 
the mass of commodities in circulation. It requires but little 
racking of brains to comprehend that if one quarter of wheat 
costs æ2, 100 quarters will cost .f:200, 200 quarters æ400, and 
so on, that consequently the quantity of money that changes 


Caþzìalist Production. 

place with the wheat, when sold, must increase with the quan- 
tity of that wheat. 
If the mass of commodities remain constant, the quantity of 
circulating money varies with the fluctuations in the prices of 
those commodities. It increases and diminishes because the 
sum of the prices increases or diminishes in consequence of the 
change of price. To produce this effect, it is by no means 
requisite that the prices of all commodities should rise or fall 
simultaneously. A rise or a fall in the prices of a number of 
leading articles, is sufficient in the one case to inclease, in the 
other to diminish, the sum of the prices of all commodities, 
and, therefore, to put more or less money in circulation. 
Whether the change in the price correspond to an actual 
change of value in the commodities, or whether it be the result 
of mere fluctuations in market prices, the effect on the quan- 
tity of the medium of circulation remains the same. 
Suppose the following articles to be sold or partially meta- 
morphosed simultaneously in different localities: say, one 
quarter of wheat, 20 yards of linen, one Bible, and 4 gallons of 
brandy. If the price of each article be 
2, and the sum of the 
prices to be realised be consequently 
8, it follows that .f8 in 
money must go into circulation. If, on the other hand, these 
same articles are links in the following chain of metamorphoses: 
1 quarter of wheat-!2-20 yards of linen-
2-1 Bible- 
æ2-4 gallons of brandy-
2, a chain that is already well- 
known to us, in that case the .f2 cause the different com- 
modities to circulate one after the other, and after realizing 
their prices successively, and therefore the Bum of those prices, 
!8, they come to rest at last in the pocket of the distiller. The 
.f2 thus make four moves. This repeated change of place of the 
same pieces of money cOlTesponds to the double change in form 
of the commodities, to their motion in opposite directions 
through two stages of circulation, and to the interlacing of the 
metamorphoses of different commodities. l These antithetic and 
complementary phases, of which the process of metamorphosis 
1 Ie Ce Bont leB productions qui Ie (l'argent) mettent en mouvement et Ie font 
circuler . . . La céIérité de son mouvement (sc. de l'argent) supplée à sa quantité 
Lorøqu'il en est besoin, i1 ne fait que glisser d'une main dans l'autre sans s'arrêtcr un 
instant." (Le Trosne 1. c. pp. 915, 916.) 

l1foney, 01' the Circulation of C01JZ111odities. 95 

consists, are gone through, not simultaneously, but successively. 
Time is therefore required for the completion of the series. 
Hence the velocity of the currency of money is measured by 
the nUlnber of moves made by a given piece of lnoney in a 
given time. Suppose the circulation of the 4 articles takes a 
day. The SUIn of the prices to be realised in the day is æ8, 
the number of moves of the two pieces of lnoney is four, and 
the quantity of money circulating is .f2. Hence, for a given 
interval of time during the process of circulation, we have the 
following relation: the quantity of money functioning as the 
circulating medium is equal to the sum of the prices of the 
.commodities divided by the number of moves maùe by coins 
of the saIne denomination. This law holds generally. 
The total circulation of commodities in a given country 
during a given period is made up on the one hand of numerous 
isolated and simultaneous partial metamorphoses, sales which 
are at the same time purchases, in which each coin changes its 
place only once, or makes only one move; on the other hand, 
of numerous distinct series of metamorphoses partly running 
side by side, and partly coalescing with each other, in each of 
,vhich series each coin makes a number of moves, the number 
being greater or less according to circumstances. The total 
nUlnber of moves made by all the circulating coins of one 
denomination being given, we can arrive at the average num- 
ber of moves made by a single coin of that denomination, or at 
the average velocity of the currency of money. The quantity 
of money thro,vn into the circulation at the beginning of each 
day is of course determined by the sum of the prices of all the 
èommodities circulating simultaneously side by side. But once 
in circulation, coins are, so to say, made responsibJe for one 
another. If the one increase its velocity, the other either 
retards its own, or altogether falls out of circulation; for the 
circulation can absorb unly such a quantity of goll as when 
multiplied by the mean number of moves nlade by one single 
coin or element, is equal to the sum of the prices to he rea- 
lised. Hence if the number of moves made by the separate 
pieces increase, the total number of those pieces in circulation 
dinlÏnishes. If the number of the moves diminish, the total 

9 6 

Caþ'italist P1'oductic)1t. 

number of pieces increases. Since the quantity of moñey cap- 
able of being absorbed by the circulation is given for a given 
mean velocity of currency, all that is necessary in order to 
abstract a given number of sovereigns from the circulation is to 
throw the same number of one-pound notes into it, a trick well 
known to all bankers. 
Just as the currency of money, generally considered, is but 
a reflex of the circulation of commodities, or of the antithetical 
metamorphoses they undergo, so, too, the velocity of that cur- 
rency reflects the rapidity with which commodities change 
their forms, the continued interlacing of one series of meta- 
morphoses with another, the hurried social interchange of 
matter, the rapid disappearance of commodities from the 
sphere of circulation, and the equally rapid substitution of 
fresh ones in their places. Hence, in the velocity of the cur- 
rency we have the fluent unity of the antithetical and com- 
plementary phases, the unity of the conversion of the useful 
aspect of commodities into their value-aspect, and their re-con- 
version from the latter aspect to the former, or the unity of the 
two processes of sale and purchase. On the other hand, the 
retardation of the currency reflects the separation of these two 
processes into isolated antithetical phases, reflects the stagna- 
tion in the change of form, and therefore, in the social inter- 
change of matter. The circulation itself, of course, gives no 
clue to the origin of this stagnation; it merely puts in evidence 
the phenomenon itself. The general public, who, simultane- 
ously, with the retardation of the currency, see money appear 
and disappear less frequently at the periphery of circulation, 
naturally attribute this retardation to a, quantitative deficiency 
in the circulating medium. l 

1 Money being. . . the common measure of buying and selling, every body who 
hath anything to eell, and cannot procure chapmen for it, is presently to think, 
that want of money in the kingdom, or country, is the cause why his goods do not 
go off; and so, want of money is the common cry; which is a great mistake. . . 
"'What do these people wa.nt, who cry out for money? . . . The farmer complains 
. . . he thinke that were more money in the country, he should have a price for his 
goods. Then it seems money is not his want, but a price for hiø corn and catteI, which 
he would øell, but cannot. . . Why ca.nnot he get a price? . . . (1) Either there is 
too much corn and cattel in the country, eo that most who come to market have 
need of lelling, as he hath, and few of buying; or (2) There wants the usual vent 

MOlley, or the Circulation of C01JZ1Jloditz"es. 97 
The totaJ quantity of money functioning during a given 
period as the circulating medium, is determined, on the ono 
band, by the sum of the prices of the cil'cuiating commodities, 
and on the other hand, by the rapidity with which the anti- 
thetical phases of the metamorphoses follow one another. On 
this rapidity depends what proportion of the sum of the prices 
can, on the average, be realised by each single coin. But the 
sum of the prices of the circulating commodities depends ùn 
the quantity, as well as on the prices, of the commodities. 
These three factors, however, state of prices, quantity of circu- 
lating commodities, and velocity of money-cuITency, are all 
variable. Hence, the sum of the prices to be realised, and 
consequently the quantity of the circulating medium depend- 
ing on that sum, will vary with the numerous variations of 
these three factors in combination. Of these variations we 
shall consider those alone that have been the most important 
in the history of prices. 
'Vhile price&., remain constant, the quantity of the circulat- 
ing medium may increase owing to the number of circulating 
commodities increasing, or to the velocity of currency decreas- 
ing, or to a combination of the t,vo. On the other hand the 
quantity of the circulating medium may decrease with a 
decreasing number of commodities, or with an increasing 
rapidity of their circulation. 
'Vith a general rise in the prices of commodities, the qnantity 
of the circulating Inedium will remain constant, provided the 
num ber of comnlodities in circulation decrease proportionally 
abroad by transportation. . . ; or (3) The commmption fails, as when men, by reason 
of poverty, do not spend 80 much in their houses as formerly they did; whel'efore it 
is not the increase of specific money, which would at all advance the farmer's gooùs, 
but the removal of any of these three causes, which do truly keep down the market. 
. . . The merchant and shopkeeper want money in the same manner, that is, they 
waut a vent for the goods they deal in, by reason that the markets fail" . . . [A 
nation] "never thrives b
tter, than when riches are tost from hanù to hand." (Sir 
Dudley North: "Discourses upon Trade," Lond. 1691, pp. 11-15, passim.) Herren- 
schwand's fanci.ful notions amount merely to this, that the antagonism, which has 
its origin in the nature of commodities, and is rpproduced in their circulation, can be 
removed by increasing the circulating medium. But if, on the one hand, it is a popu- 
lar delusion to ascribe stagnation in production and circulation to insufficiency of 
the circula.ting medium, it by no mean
 follows, on the other hand, that an actual 
paucity of the medium in consequence, e.g., of bungling legislative interference with 
the regulation of currency, may not give rise to such stagnation. 

9 ß 

Caþztalist Production. 

to the increase in their prices. or provided the velocity of 
currency increase at the same rate as prices rise. the number of 
commodities in circulation remaining constant. The quantity 
of the circulating medium may decrease, o\ving to the number 
()f commodities decreasing more rapidly; or to the velocity of 
currency increasing more rapidly, than prices rise. 
With a general fall in the prices of commodities, the quantity 
of the circulating medium "will remain constant, provided the 
nrunbcr of commodities increase proportionally to their fall in 
price, or provided the velocity of currency decrease in the same 
proportion. The quantity of the circulating mediuln will 
increase, provided the nUlnber of commodities increase quicker, 
or the rapidity of circulation decrease quicker, than the prices 
The variations of the different factors n1ay mutually compen- 
sate each ot.her, so that not\vithstanding their continued 
instability, the sum of the prices to be realised and the quantity 
of money in circulation remains constant; consequently, 've 
find, especially if we take long periods into consideration, that 
the deviations from the average level, of the quan ti ty of money 
cun'ent in any country, are much smaller than we should at 
first sight expect, apart of course from excessive perturbations 
periodically arising from industrial and c01nlnerci
 crises, or, 
less frequently, from fluctuations in the value of lnoney. 
The law, that the quantity of the circulating medium is 
determined by the sum of the prices of the commodities 
circulating, and the average velocity of currency 1 may also be 

1 "There is a certain measure and proportion of money requisite to drive the 
trade of a nation, more or less than which would prejudice the same. Just as there 
is a certain proportion of farthings necessary in a small retail trade, to change silver 
money, and to even such reckonings as cannot be adjusted with the smallest silver 
pieces. . . . Now, as the proportion of the number of farthings requisite in com- 
merce is to be taken from the number of people, the frequenc)' of their exchanges: 
as also, and principally, from the value of the smallest silver pieces of money; 80 in 
like manner, the proportion of money [gold and silver specie] requisite in our trade, 
is to be likewiae taken from the frequency of commutations, amI from the bigness of 
the payments." ('Villiam Petty. "A Treatise on Taxes andContributiolls." Lond. 
1662, p. 17.) The Theory of Hume was defended against theattack8 of J. Steuart and 
others, by A. Young, in his "Political Arithmetic," Lond. 1774, in which work there 
is a spE'cial chapter entitled "Prices depend on quantity of mouey," at p. 112, sqq. 
1 have stated in "Zur Kritik, &c.," p. 149: "He (Adam :-;mith) passes over 

Money, or the Circ1tlalion of C01J21J2odztzcs. 99 

stated as follows: given the sum of the values of cOD1D10dities, 
and the average rapidity of their metamorphoses, the quantity 
()f precious metal current as money depends on the value of 
that precious metal. The erroneous opinion that it is, on the 
contrary, prices that are determined by the quantity of the 
circulating medium, and that the latter depends on the 
quantity of the precious n1etals in a country; 1 this opinion was 
based by those who first held it, on the absurd hypothesis that 
commodities are without a price, and money without a value, 
when they firbt enter into circulation, and that, once in the 
circulation, an aliq uot part of the medley of commodities is 
exchanged for an aliquot part of the heap of precious metals. J 

without remark the question as to the quantity of coin in circulmion, and treats 
money quite wrongly as a mere commodity." This statement applies only in so far 
fiS Adam Smith, ex officio, treats of money. Now and then, however, as in his 
criticism of the earlier systems of political economy, he takes the right view. " The 
quantity of coin in every country is regulated by the value of the commodities which 
are to be circulated by it. . . . The value of the goods annually bought and sold 
in any country requires a certain quantity of money to circulate and distribute them 
to their proper consumers, and can give employment to no more. The channel of 
circulation necessarily draws to itself a sum sufficient to fill it, and never admits any 
more." (" Wealth of Nations." Bk. IV., ch. I.) In like manner, ex officio, he opens 
his work with an apotheosis on the division of labour. Afterwards, in the last book 
which treats of the sources of public revenue, he occasionally repeatM the denunciations 
of the division of labour made by his teacher, A. Ferguson. 
1 "The prices of things will certainly rise in every nation, as the gold and silver 
increase Amongst the people; and consequently, where the gold and silver decrease 
ill any nation. the prices of all things must fall proportionably to such decrease of 
money." (Jacob Vanderlint: ":Money answers all Things." Lond. 1734, p.5.) A 
.careful comparison of this book with Hume's "Essays," proves to my mind without 
.doubt that Hume was acquainted with and made use of Vanderlint's work, which is 
certainly an important one. The opinion that prices are determined by the quantity 
of the circulating medium, was also held by Barbon and other much earlier writers. 
"No inconvenience," says Vanderlint, "can arise by an unrestrained trade, but very 
great advantage; since, if the cash of the nation be decreased by it, which 
prohibitions are designed to prevent, those nations that get the cash will certainly 
find everything advance in price, as the cash increases amongst them. And . . . 
our manufactures, and everything else, will soon become 80 moderate as to turn the 
balance of trade in our favour, anù thereby fetch the money back again." (l. c., 
pp. 43, 44.) 
2 That the price of each single kind of commodity forms a part of the sum of the 
prices of all the commodities in circulation, is a self-evident proposition. But how 
use-values, which are incommensurable with regard to each other, are to be ex.. 
changed, en masse, for the total sum of gold and silver in a country, is quite incom. 
prehensible. If we start from the notion that all commodities together form one 
ßingle commodity, of which each is but an aliquot part, we get the following beautiful 
l'esult: The total commodity = x cwt. of gold; commodity A = an aliquot part of the 


Caþztalist Prodzectzon. 

C. Coin and sY'1nbols l!f value. 
That money takes the shape of coin, springs from its function 
llS the circulating medium. The weight of gold represented in 
imagination by the prices or money-nanies of commodities, 
must confront those commodities, within the circulation, in the 
shape of coins or pieces of gold of a given denomination. 
Coining, like the establishment ôf a standard of prices, is the 
business of the State. The different national uniforms worn 
at home by gold and silver as coins, and doffed again in the- 
market of the world, indicate the separation bet,veen the 
internal or national spheres of the circulation of commodities. 
and their universal sphere. 
The only difference, therefore, between coin and bullion, is 
one of shape, and gold can at any time pass from one form to 
the other. l But no sooner does coin leave the mint, than it 

total commodity = the same a1iquot part of x cwt. of gold. This is stated in all 
aeriousness by Montesquieu: "Si l'on compare la masse de I'or et de I'argent qui est 
dans Ie mondE' avec la somme des marchandises qui y sont, il est certain que chaqu8' 
(lenrée ou marchandise, en particulier, pourra être comparéc â une certaine portion 
de Ie masse entière. Supposons qu'il n'y ait qu'une seule denrée ou marchandise dans Ie 
monde, ou qu'il n'y ait qu'une seule qui s'achète, et qu'elle se divise comme I'argent: 
Cette partie de cette marchandise repondra à une partie de lar masse de l'argent; la 
moitié du total de l'une à la moitiê du total de l'autre, &c. . . . I'établissement 
du prix des choses dépend toujours fondamentalement de la raison du total des choses 
au total des signes." (l\Iontesquieu 1. c. tIll., pp. 12, 13.) As to the further devel- 
opment of this theory by Ricardo and his disciples, James Mill, Lord Overstone, and 
others, see ., Zur Kritik," &c., pp. 140-146, and p. 150, sqq. John Stuart Mill, with 
his usual eclectic logic, understands how to hold at the same time the view of his 
father, James Mill, and the opposite view. On a comparison of the text of his 
compendium, "Principles of Pol. Econ.," with his preface to the first edition, in 
which preface he announces himself as the Adam Smith of his day-we do not know 
whether to admire more the simplicity of the man, or that of the pu bUc, who took 
bim, in good faith, for the Adam Smith he announced himself to be, although he bears 
about as much resemblance to Adam Smith as say General Williams, of Kars, to the 
Duke of Wellington. The original researches of Mr. J. S. Mill, which are neither 
extensive nor profound, in the domain of political economy, will be found mustered 
in rank and file in his little work, "Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, It 
which appeared in 1844. Locke asserts point blank the connexion between the- 
absence of value in gold and silver, and the determination of their values by quantity 
alone, "Mankind having consented to put an imaginary value upon gold and silver 
. . . the intrinsick value, regarded in these metals, is nothing but the quantity." 
(" Some considerations," &c., 1691, Works Ed. 1777, vol. II., p. 15.) 
1 It lies, of course, entirely beyond my purpose to take into consideration such. 
details as the seigniorage on minting. I will, however, cite for the benefit of the 
romantic sycophant, Adam MüUer, who admires the "generous liberality" with 

.JIoJle)', cr the Lì'rculatzoll of Conl1JZodities. 101 

inuuediately fi.llJ
 itself on tho high-road to the IneIting put. 
During tbeir cUITtncy, coins wear away, some more, others 
less. Name and substance, nominal ,veight and real ,veight, 
begin their process of separation. Coins of the same derOln- 
ination become different in value, because they are different in 
,veight. The weight of gold fixed upon as the standar,l of 
prices, deviates from the ,veight that serves as the circulating 
Inediuln, and the latter thereby ceases any longer to be a real 
equivalent of the commodities ,vhose prices it realises. The 
Jlistory of coinage during the Iniddle ages and down into the 
löth century, records the ever renewed confusion arising from 
this cause. The natural tendency of circulation to convert 
cuins into a mere semblance of ,,,hat they profess to be, into a 
symbol of the weight of metal they are officially supposed to 
contain, is recognised by modern legislation, which fixes tho 
loss of weight sufficient to demonetise a gold coin, or to make 
it no longer legal tender. 
The fact that the currency of coins itself effects a separation 
between their nominal and their real weight, creating a dis- 
tinction between them as nlere pieces of metal on the one hand, 
and as coins with a definite function on the other-this fact 
Ï1nplies the latent possibility of replacing metallic coins by 
tokens of some other material, by symbols serving the same 
purposes as coins, The practical difficulties in the way of 
coining extremely minute quantities of gold or silver, and the 
CirCU111stance that at first the less precious metal is used as a 
measure of value instead of the more precious, copper instead 
of silver, silver instead of gold, and that the less precious 
circulates as money until dethroned by the more precious-all 
these facts explain the parts historically played by silver and 
which the English Government coins gratuitously, the following opinion of Sir 
Dudley North: "Silver and gold, like other commodities, have their ebbings and 
fiowings. Upon the arrival of quantities from Spain . . . it is carried into the 
Tower, and coined. Not long after there will come a demand for bullion to be 
exported again. If there is none, but all happens to be in coin, what then! Melt it 
down again; there's no loss in it, for the coining costs the owner nothing. Thul the 
nation has been abused, and made to pay for the twisting of straw for aSies to eat. 
If the merchant were made to pay the price of the coinage, he would not have aent his 
'sil ver to the Tower without consideration; and coined money would always keep a. value 
,above uncoined silver." (North, 1. c., p. lð.) North was himself one of the foremc,st 
merchants in the reign of Charles II. 


Caþi'talist Productz'01Z. 

copper tokens as substitutes for gold coins. Silver and copper 
tokens take the place of gold in those regions of the circulation 
where coins pass from hand to hand most rapidly, and are 
subject to the maximum amount of wear and tear. This occurs 
where Rales and purchases on a very small scale are continually 
happening. In order to prevent these satellites from establish- 
ing themselves permanently in the place of gold, positive 
enactments determine the extent to which they must be com- 
pulsorily received as payment instead of gold. The particular 
tracks pursued by the different species of coin in currency, run 
naturally into each other. The tokens keep company with 
gold, to pay fractional parts of the smallest gold coin; gold is
on the one hand, constantly pouring into retail circulation, and 
on the other hand is as constantly being thrown out again by 
being changed into tokens. 1 
The weight of metal in the silver and copper tokens is 
arbitrarily fixed by law. When in currency, they wear away 
even more rapidly than gold coins. Hence their functions are 
totally independent of their weight, and consequently of all 
value. The function of gold as coin becomes completely inde- 
pendent of the metallic value of that gold. Therefore things 
that are relatively without value, such as paper notes, can 
serve as coins in its place. This purely symbolic character is- 
to a certain extent masked in metal tokens. In paper money 
it stands out plainly. In fact, ce n'est que Ie premier pa
We allude here only to inconvertible paper money issued by 
the State and having compulsory circulation. It has its 
immediate origin in the metallic currency. Money based upon 
credit implies on the other hand conditions, which, from our 

1 "If silver neTer exceed wbat is wanted for the smaller pdoyments, it cannot be- 
collected in sufficient quantities for the larger payments . . . the use of gold in 
the main payments necessarily implies also its use in tbe retail trade: tbose who- gold coin offering them for small purchases, and "receiving with the commodity 
purcbased a balance of silver in return; by which means the surplus of silver that- 
would otherwise encumber the retail dealer, is drawn off and dispersed into general 
circulation. But if there is as mucb silver as will transact tbe small payments in- 
dependent of gold, tbe trader must tben receive silver for small purchases; 
and it must of necessity accumulate in his bands." (David Buchanan. "Inquiry into. 
the Taxation and Commercial Policy of Great Britain." Edinburgh, 1844, pp. 248, 249.. 

lJIoJley, 01' the C'irculatzo,.z of ConuJlodities. 103 
standpoirtt of the simple circulation of commodities, are as yet 
totally unknown to us. But we may affirm this much, that 
just as tru.e paper llloney takes its rise in the function of money 
as the circulating medium, so money based upon credit takes 
root spon
aneously in the function of money as the means of 
payment. l 
The State puts in circulation bits of paper on which their 
\-arious denominations, say æl, æ5, &c., are printed. In so far 
(1.9 they actually take the place of gold to the f)aIUe amount, 
t heir movement is subject to the laws that regulate the currency 
()f money itself. A law peculiar to the circulation of paper 
Inoney can spring up only from the proportion in which that 
paper money represents gold. Such a law exists; stated 
silnply, it is as follows: the issue of paper money must not 
exceed in amount the goJd (or silver as the case n1ay be) which 
would actually circulate if not replaced by symbols. No,v the 
quantity of gold which the circulation can absorb, constantly 
fluctuates about a given leveL Still, the nlass of the circulating 
medium in a given country never sinks below a certain 
minilllum easily ascertained by actual experience. The fact 
that tbis minimum nlass continually undergoes changes in its 
constituent parts, or that the pieces of gold of which it consists 
are being constantly replaced by fresh ones, causes of course no 
change either in its amount or in the continuity of its circula- 
tion. It can therefore be replaced by paper symbols. If, on 
the other hand, all the conduits of circulation were to-day filled 
with paper money to the full extent of their capacity for 
1 The mandarin Wan-mao-in, the Chinese Chancellor of the Exchequer, took it into 
his head one day to la.y before the Son of Heaven a proposal that secretly aimed at 
converting the aS8Ígnat3 of the empire into convertible bank notes. The assignats 
Committee, in its report of April, 1854, gives him a severe snubbing. \Vhetht::r he 
allo received the traditional drubbing with bamboos is not stated. The concluding 
part of the report is as follows :-" The Committee has carefully examined his pro- 
posal a.nd finds that it iø entirely in favour of the merchants, and that no advantage 
will result to the crown." (Arbeiten der Kaiserlich Russischen Gesandtscbaft zu 
Peking über China. Aus dem Russischen von Dr. K. Abel und F. A. Mecklenburg. 
Erster Band. Berlin, 1858, pp. 47, 59.) In his evidence before the Committee of the 
House of Lords on the Bank Acts, a governor of the Bank of England says, with 
regard to tbe abrasion of gold coins during currency: "Every year a fresh class of 
sovereigns becomes too light. The class which one year passes with full weight, 
loses enough by wear and tear to draw the scales next year against it." (House of 
Lords' ClJmmittce. 1p.1
. n .J.'>C),) 

10 4 

Caþz/alz'st Ploduc/ion. 

aLsorbing money, they might to-morrow' be overflowing in 
consequence of a fluctuation in the circulation of commodities. 
There would no longer be any standard. If the paper money 
exceed its proper limit, which is the amount in gold coins of 
the like denomination that can actually be current, it would, 
apart from the danger of falling into general disrepute, re- 
present only that quantity of gold, which, in accordance with 
the laws of the circulation of cOlnmodities, is required, and is 
alone capable of being represented by paper. If the quantity 
of pape-r money issued be double what it ought to be, then, a
a mattel of fact, .1:1 would be the money-name not of ì of an 
ounce, but of lof an ounce of gold. The effect would be the 
same as tf an alteration had taken place in the function of gold 
as a standard of prices. Those values that were previously 
expressed by the price of .1:1 would now be expressed by the 
price of .1:2. 
Paper-money is a token representing gold or money. The 
relation between it and the values of commodities is this, that 
the latter are ideally expressed in the saIne quantities of gold 
that are symbolically represented by the paper. Only in so 
far as paper-money represents gold, which like all other com- 
modities has value, is it a symbol of value. 1 
Finally, some one may ask why gold is capable of being 
replaced by tokens that have no value? But, as we bave 
already seen, it is capable of being so replaced only in so far 
as it functions exclusively as coin, or as the circulating 
medium, and as nothing else. No\v, money bas other functions 
besides this one, and the isolated function of serving as the 
nlere circulating medium is not necessarily the only one 

1 The following passage from Fullarton shows the want of clearness on the part of 
even the best writers on money, in their comprehension of its various functions: 
"Tha.t, a,s far as concerns our domestic exchanges, all the monetary functions which 
are usually performed by gold and silver coins, may be performed as effectually by a 
circulation of inconvertible notes, having no value but that factitious and conven- 
tional value they derive from the law, is a fact which admits, I conceive, of no 
denial. Value of this description may be made to answer all the purposes of intrinsic 
value, and supersede even the necessity for a standard, provided only the quantity 
of issues be kept under due limitation." (Fullarton:" Regulation of Currencies," 
London, 1844, p. 21.) Because the commodity that serves as money is capable 
of being replaced in circulation by mere symbols of value, therefore its functions as 
a measure of value anù a standard of prices are declared to be superfluous' 

.iJ-Io1le)', or the C-ircZtlatioll of C01JZ1Jzod-itÛ:s. 105 

attached to gold coin, although this is the case with those 
.abraded coins that continue to circulate. Each piece of money 
i:::; a Illere coin, or means of circulation, only so long as it actually 
circulates. But this is just the ca:se with that minimum mass 
of guld, which is capable of being replaced by paper-nloney. 
1-'hat Inass remains cOllstantly within the sphere of circulation, 
continually functions as a circulating medium, and exists ex- 
clusively for that purpose. Its movement therefore represents 
nothing but the continued alternation of the inverse phases of 
the metamorphosis 0-11-0, phases in ,vhich commodities con- 
front their value-forms, only to di:sappear again immediately. 
'fhe independent existence of the exchange value of a com- 
11l0dity is here a transient apparition, by means of which the 
cOlllmodity is immediately replaced by another comnlodity. 
fIence, in this process which continuaUy makes money pass 
from hand to hand, the mere symbolical existence of money 
suffices. Its functional existence absorbs, so to say, its 
material existence. Being a transient and objective reflex of 
the prices of cOlnmodities, it serves only as a symbol of itself, 
and is therefore capable of being replaced by a token. lOne 
thing is, however, requisite; thi:::; token must have an objective 
social validity of its own, and this the paper sYlnbol acquires 
by its forced currency. This compulsory action of the 
State can take effect only within that inner sphere of circula- 
tion which is co-terminous with the territories of the com- 
munity, but it is also only within that sphere that money 
completely responds to its function of being the circulating 
medium, or be
omes coin. 

The commodity that functions as a measure of value, and, 
1 From the fact that gold and silver, 80 far as they are coins, or exclusively serve 
as the medium of circulation, become mere tokens of themselves, Nicholas Barbon 
deduces the right of Governments" to raise money," that is, to give to the weight of 
sil ver that is called a shilling the name of a greater weight, such as a crown'; 
nd so 
to pay creditors shillings, instead of crowns. "Money does wear and grow hghter 
1>y often telling over . . . It is the denomination and currency of the money 
that men regard in bargaining, and not the quantity of silver . . . 'Tis the 
pllblic authority upon the metal that makes it money." (N. Barbon,1. c., pp. 29,30, 


Caþitalist .Production. 

either in its 
wn person or by a representative, as the medium 
of circulation, is money. Gold (or silver) is tberefore money. 
It functions as money, on the one hand, when it has to 00 
present in its own golden person. It is then the money-com-. 
modity, neither merely ideal, as in its function of {!. measure 
of value, nor capable of being represented, as in its function of 
circulating medium. On the other hand, it also functions as 
money, when by virtue of its function, whether that function 
be performed in person or by representative, it congeals into the 
sole form of value, tbe only adequate form of existence of 
exchange-value, in opposition to use-value, represented by all 
other commodities. 

a. HOa'l'ding. 
The continual movement in circuits of the two antithetical 
metalnorphoses of commodities, or the never ceasing alternation 
of sale and purchase, is reflected in the restless currency or 
money, or in the function that money performs of a perpetuum 
Inobile of circulation. But so soon as the series of metalnor- 
phoses is interrupted, so soon as sales are not supplemented by 
subsequent purchases, money ceases to be mobili.sed; it is trans- 
formed, as Boisguillebert says, from Ie meub]e " into "im- 
meuble," from movable into immovable, from coin into 
With the very earliest development of the circulation of 
commodities, there is also developed the necessity, and the 
passionate desire, to hold fast the product of the first metamor- 
phosis. This product is the transformed shape of the COlll- 
n10dity, or its gold-chrysalis. 1 Commodities are thus sold not 
for the purpose of buying others, but in order to replace their 
commodity-form by their money-form. From being the merø 
means of effecting the circulation of commodities, this change 
of form becomes the end and aim. The changed form of the 
commodity is thus prevented from functioning as its uncondi- 
tionally alienable form, or as its merely transient money-form.. 

1 "Une richesse en argent n'eøt que . . . richesse en productions, converties 
en argent." (Mercier de la Rivière, 1. c.) "Une valeur en prolluctions n'a fait que 
changer de forme." (Id., p. 486.) 

lJfoncy, or the Circulation of C0l1t11Zodzt'ies. 107 
The money becomes petrified into a hoard, and the seller 
beCOInes a hoarder of money. 
In the early stages of the circulation of commodities, it is 
the surplus use-values alone that are converted into money. 
Gold and silver thus become of themselves social expressions 
for superfluity or wealth. This naïve form of hoarding be- 
comes perpetuated in those communities in which the tra- 
ditional mode of production is carried on for the supply of a 
fixed and limited circle of home ,vants. It is thus with the 
people of Asia, and particularly of the East Indies. Vanderlint, 
who fancies that the prices of commodities in a country are 
determined by the quantity of gold and silver to be found in 
it, asks himself why Indian commodities are so cheap. An- 
s\ver: Becau
e the Hindoos bury their money. From 1602 to 
1734, he remarks, they buried 150 millions of pounds sterling 
of silver, ,vhich originally came from America to Europe. 1 In 
the 10 years from 1856 to 1866, England exported to India 
and China æ120,000,000 in silver, \vhich had been received in 
exchange for Australian gold. :\lost of the silver exported to 
China makes its way to India. 
As the production of commorlities further developes, every 
producer of commodities i
 compelled to make sure of the 
nexus rerum or the social pledge. 2 His wants are constantly 
making themselves felt, and necessitate the continual purchase 
of other people's commodities, while the production and sale of 
his own goods req uire time, and depend upon circumstances. 
In order then to be able to buy without selling, he must have 
sold previously without buying. This operation, conducted 
on a general scale, appears to imply a contradiction. But the 
precious nletals at the sources of their production are directly 
exchanged for other commodities. And here we have sal0s 
(by the owners of commodities) without purchases (by the 
owners of gold or silver).s And subsequent sales, by other 

1 C I 'Tis by this practice they keep all their goo ds and manufactures at such low 
l:t te.... " (Vamlerlint, 1. c., p. 96.) 
:! ,. :\loney . . . is a pledge." (John Bellers: cc Essays about the Poor, Manufacturers, 
l'rade, Plantations, and Immorality," Lond., 1699, p. 13.) 
SA purchaee, in a U ca.te
orical" scnse, implies that gold and silver are already the 
converted form of commodities, or the product of a sale. 


Capitalist Production. 

producers, unfollowed by purchases, Inerely bring about the 
distribution of the newly produced precious metals among an 
the owners of commodities. In this way, all along the line of 
exchange, hoards of gold and silver of varied extent are ac- 
cumulated. With the possibility of holding and storing up 
exchange value in the shape of a particular commodity, arises 
al::;o the greed for gold. Along ,vith the extension of circula- 
tion, increases the po,ver of money, that absolutely social forn1 
of wealth ever ready for use. "Gold is a wonderful thing! 
\Vhoever possesses it is lord of all he wants. By means of 
gold one can even get souls into Paradise." (Columbus in his 
letter from Jamaica, 1503.) Since gold does not disclose what been transformed into it, everything, commodity or not, 
'is convertible into gold. Everything becomes saleable and 
buyable. The circulation becomes the great social retort into 
which everything is thrown, to come out again as a golù- 
crystal. N at even are the bones of saints, anù still less are 
more delicate res sacrosanctæ extra commercium hominum 
able to withstand this alchemy.1 Just as every qualitative 
difference between commodities is extinguished in money, so 
money, on its side. like the radical leveller that it is, does 
away with all distinctions. 2 But money itself is a commodity, 
1 Henry III., most Christian king of France, robbed cloisters of their relics, and 
turned them into money. It is well known what part the despoiling of the Delphic 
Temple, by the Phocians, played in the history of Greece. Temples with the ancients 
served as the dwellings of the gods of commodities.. They were" sacred banks." 'Vith 
the Phænidans, a trading people par excellence, money was the transmuted sha,pe of 
everything. It was, therefore, quite in order that the virgins, who, at the feast of 
the Goddess of Love, gave themselves up to strangers, should offer to the goddess the 
piece of money they received. 
- J "Gold, yello w, glittering, precious gold! 
Thus much of this, will make black white; foul, fair; 
'V rong right; base, noble; old, young; coward, valiant. 
. . . 'Vhat this, you gods? Why, this 
'Yilllug your priests and servants from your sides; 
Pluck stout men'.; pillows from below their heads; 
This yellow slave 
Will knit and break religions; bless the accurs'd ; 
Make the hoar leprosy ador'd; place thieves, 
And give them title, knee and approbation, 
'Vith senators on the bench; this is it, 
That makes the wappen'd widow wed again: 
. . . . . Come damned earth, 
Thou COIamon whore of mankind." 
 kf3Rppare: Timon of .A them.) 

fiIolle)', or the Circulalz"oJt of C01n1Jtod-itzes. 109 

an external object, capable of becoluing the private property 
ot any individual. Thus social power becomes the private 
power of private persons. The ancients therefore denounced 
money as subversive of the econolnical and moral order of 
things. 1 Modern society, which, soon after its birth, pulled 
Plutus by the hair of his head from the bowels of the earth, I 
greets gold as its Holy Grail, as the glittering incarnation of 
the very principle of its o\vn life. 
. commodit)r, in its capacity of a use-value, satisfies a 
particular want, and is a particular elelnent of material wealth. 
But the value of a comlnodity Ineasures the degree of its 
attraction for all other elelnents of lllaterial wealth, and there- 
fore nleasures the social wealth of its o,vner. To a barbarian 
o"vnf:r of commodities, and even to a \V cst-European peasant, 
value is the saIne as value-form, and therefore, to him the 
increase in his hoard of gold and ail ver is an increase in value. 
It is true that the value of money varies, at one time in con- 
sequence of a variation in its own value, at another, in 
consequence of a change in the values of commodities. But 
this, on the one hand, does not prevent 200 ounces of gold fronl 
still containing lnore value than 100 ounces, nor, on the other 
]}and, does it hinder the actual metallic fonn of this article 
froin continuing to be the universal equivalent form of all other- 
cOlllu1odities, and the immediate social incarnation of all 
11u1l1an labour. The desire after hoarding is in its very nature 
unsatiabIe. In its qualitat.ive aspect, or formally considered, 
money has no bounds to its efficacy, i.e., it is the universal re- 
presentative of lllaterial wealth, because it is direct]y convertible 
into any other commodity. But, at the same time, every actual 
sum of money is limited in amount, and, therefore, as a means 

I "Ouðì" 'Y<<'P å
'K'o,tf'" ø'rn ilP'YUP(Jf 
Jltì" "Ó#'fTIUZ 
ßÀ<<.tf'TI''TtJÛ<rð ",d 'KDAIII 
fI(JpdtÎ, 'l"'ø
' ;'''
pa. iE&,íl1''I'''f1..'' 'ðó
Tó'ð' h
.."., ,,<<.1 'iraptÛ..AåfTfTI, 
Xpf1tfrrù. -:rp;i alfTXpò. å"jldp
'K(J'; fXW, 
Kæl W.'<rØi tP'i'tJu ðUfTO"iß.,<<., ,;ðhal". 
(Sophocles, Antigone). 
2 "'EA'.:I"
(JúfTf1. "'71f "^'O
;æf (há.,m b ".;, 1'",,;, "'711 '}7]. "ù".
, or." nAoúor..""." 
(Athen. Deipnos.) 


Caþztalist Production. 

of purchasing, has only a limited efficacy. This antagonisln 
between the quantitative lin1Ïts of money and its quaJitative 
boundlessness, continually acts as a spur to the hoarder in his 
Sisyphus-like labour of accumulating. It is with him as it is 
,vith a conqueror who sees in every new country annexed, only 
a new boundary. 
In order that gold may be held as money, and Inade to form 
a hoard, it must be prevented from circulating, or from trans- 
forming itself into a means of enjoyment. The hoarder, 
therefore, makes a sacrifice of the lusts of the flesh to his gold 
fetish. He acts in earnest up to the Gospel of abstention. On 
the other hand, he can ,vithdraw fronl circulation no more than 
what he has thrown into it in the shape of commodities. The 
Inore he produces, the more he is able to sell. Hard work, 
saving, and avarice, are, therefore, his three cardinal virtues, 
and to sell much and buy little the sum of his political 
economy. 1 
By the side of the gross form of a hoard, ,ve find also its 
æsthetic form in the possession of gold and silver articles. This 
grows with the wealth of civil society. "Soyons riches ou 
paraissons riches" (Diderot). In this way there i
 created, on the 
one hand, a constantly extending market for gold and silver, 
unconnected with their functions as nloney, and, on the other 
hand, a latent source of supply, to which recourse is had 
principally in tilnes of crisis and social disturbance. 
Hoarding serves various purposes in the economy of the 
metallic circulation. Its first function arises out of the conditions 
to .which the currency of gold and silver coins is 
ubject. 'Ve 
have seen how, along with the continual fluctuations in the 
ðxtent and rapidity of the circulation of con1modities and in 

heir prices, the quantity of money current unceasingly ebbs 
and flows. This lllass must, therefore, be capable of expansion 
and contraction. At one time money must be attracted in 
order to act as circulating coin, at another, circulating coin must 
be repelled in order to act again as more or less stagnant money. 

1 " Aeereseere quanto pi1l si può il numero de' venditori d'ogni meree. diminuere 
quanto più si può i1 numero dei compratori, questi Bono i eardini sui quali si raggirano 
tutte Ie operazioni di eeonomia þolitiea." (Y cui, I.e. p.52.) 

1 olley, or the C-irculalio1z of Comnzod-itz'es. I \ 1 

In orùer that the mass of money, actually current, may con- 
stantly saturate the absorbing power of the circulation, it is 
necessary that the quantity of gold and silver in a country be 
greater than the quantity required to function as coin. This 
condition is fulfilled by money taking the form of hoards. 
These reserves serve as conduits for the supply or withdrawal 
of llloney to or from the circulation, which in this \vay never 
Qverflows its banks. 1 

ð. Means of PaYlnent. 
In the simple form of the circulation of commodities hitherto 
considered, ,ve found a given value always presented to us in 
a double shape, as a commodity at one pole, as money at the 
opposite pole. The owners of commodities came therefore into 
contact as the respective representatives of what were already 
equivalents. .But with the development of circulation, condi- 
tions arise under which the alienation of commodities becomes 
separated, by an interval of time, from the realisation of their 
prices. It will be sufficient to indicate the most simple of 
these conditions. One sort of article requires a longer, another 
a shorter timo for its production. Again, the production of 
different commodities depends on different seasons of the year. 
One sort of commodity may be born on its own market place, 
another has to make a long journey to market. Commodity- 
owner No.1, may therefore be ready to sell, before No.2 is 
ready to buy. When the same transactions are continually 

1 "There is required for carrying on the trade of the nation a determinate sum of 
specifick money, which varies, and is sometimes more, sometimes less, as the circum- 
stances we are in require. . . . This ebbing anù flowing of money supplies and 
.accommodates itself, without any aid of Politicians. . . . The buckets work 
alternately; when money is scarce, bullion is coined; when bullion is scarce, money 
is melted. JJ (Sir D. North, 1. c., Postscript, p. 3.) John Stuart nlill, who for a long time 
was an official of the East India CompaI1Y, confirms the fact that in India. silver orna- 
ments still continue to perform directly the functions of a hoard. The silver 
ornaments are brought out and coined when there is a high rate of interest, and go 
back again when the rate of interest falls. (J. S. Mill's Evidence. (Ii Reports on 
Bank Acts," 1857, 2084.) According to a Parliamentary document of 1864, on the gold 
and silver import and export of India, the import of gold and silver in 1863 exceeded 
the export by :E19, 367,7G4. During the 8 years immediately precedin
 1864, the 
excess of imports over exports of the precious metals amounted to :E109,652,911. 
During this century far more than :E200,OOO,OOO has been coined in India. 


Capitalist ProductiolZ. 

repeateà between the san1e persons, the conditions of sale are- 
gulated in accordance with the conditions of production. On 
the other hand, the use of a given commodity, of a house, for 
instance, is sold (in common parlance, let) for a definite period. 
Here, it is only at the end of the term that the buyer has 
actually received the use-value of the commodity. He there- 
fore buys it before he pays for it. The vendor sells an exist- 
ing commodity, the purchaser buys as the mere representative 
of money, or rather of future money. The vendor becomes a 
creditor, the purchaser becomes a debtor. Since the metamor- 
phosis of commodities, or the development of their value-form, 
appears here under a new aspect, money also acquires a fresh 
function; it becomes the means of payment. 
The character of creditor, or of debtor, results here from the 
simple circulation. The change in the form of that circulation 
stanlps buyer and seller with this new die. At first, therefore, 
these new parts are just as transient and alternating as those of 
seller and. buyer, and are in turns played by the sarne actors. 
But the opposition is not nearly so pleasant, and is far more 
capable of crystallization. 1 The same characters can, however,. 
be assumed independently of the circulation of commodities. 
The class-struggles of the ancient world took the form chiefly 
of a contest between debtors and creàitors, which in Rome 
ended in the ruin. of the plebeian debtors. They were dis- 
placed þy slaves. In the middle-ages the contest ended with 
the ruin of the feudal debtors, who lost their political power 
together with the economical basis on which it was established. 
Nevertheless, the money relation of debtor and creditor that 
existed at these two periods reflected only the deeper-lying 
antagonism between the general economical conditions of 
existence of the classes in question. 
Let us return to the circulation of commodities. The 
appearance of the two equivalents, commodities and money, at 
the two poles of the process of sale, has ceased to be simulia. 

1 The following shows the debtor and creditor relations existing between English 
traders at the beginning of the 18th century. "Such a spirit of cruelty reigns here 
in England among the men of trade, that is not to be met with in any other society 
of men, nor in any other kingdom of the world. U (" An Essay on Credit and the 
Bankrupt Act, " Lond., 1707, p. 2.) 

AfoJley, or the Cz.rculalion of C0l1l1J10líitits. ). 13 

neous. The money functions now, first as a measure of value 
in the determination of the price of the commodity sold; the 
price fixed by the contract measures the obligation of the 
debtor, or the sum of money that he has to pay at a fixed 
date. Secondly, it serves as an ideal means of purcba

Although existing only in the promise of the buyer to pay, it 
causes the cOIDrllodity to change hands. It is not before the 
day fixed for payment tbat the means of payment actually 
steps into circulation, leaves the hand of the buyer for that of 
the seller. The circulating medium was transformed into a 
hoard, because the process stopped short after the first pha
because the converted shape of the commodity, viz., the Inone)"", 
was \\Tithdrawn from circulation. The means of rayment 
enters the circulation, but only after the commodity has left 
it. The money is no longer the means that brings about the 
I)rocess. I t only brings it to a close, by stepping in as the 
absolute form of existence of exchange value, or as the 
universal commodity. The seller turned his commodity into 
money, in order thereby to satisfy Borne want; the hoarder did 
the same in order to keep his commodity in its monoy-shape, 
and the debtor in order to be able to pay; if he do not pay, 
his goods will be sold by the sheriff: The value-form of com- 
modities, money, is therefore now the end and aim of a sale, 
anù that owing to a social necessity springing out of the 
process of circulation itself: 
The buyer converts money back into commodities before he 
has turned commodities into money: in other words, he achieves 
the second metamorphosis of commodities before the first. The 
seller's commodity circulates, and realises its price, but only in 
the shape of a legal claim upon money. It is converted into a 
use-value before it has been converted into money. The 
completion of its first metamorphosis follows only at a later 
period. 1 

1 It will be seen from the following quotation from my book which appeared in 
1859, why I take no notice in the text of an opposite form: "Contrariwise, in the pro- 
cess M-C, the money can be alienated as a real means of purchase, and in that way, 
the price of the commodity can be realised before the use-value of the money is 
realised and the commodity actually delivered. This occurs constantly under the 

very-day form of pre-payments. And it is under this form, that the English 


Caþital'lst Production. 

The obligations falling due within a given period, represent 
the sum of the prices of the commodities, the sale of which 
gave rise to those obligations. The quantity of gold necessary 
to realise this sum, depends, in the first instance, on the 
rapidity of currency of the means of payment. That quantity 
is conditioned by two circumstances: first the relations be- 
tween debtors and creditors form a sort of chain, in such a way 
that A, when he receives money from his debtor B, straight- 
way hands it over to C his creditor, and so on; the second 
circumstance is the length of the intervals between the 
different due-days of the obligations. The continuous chain 
of payments, or retarded first metamorphoses, is essentially 
different from that interlacing of the series of metamorphoses 
which we considered on a forn1er page. By the currency of 
the circulating medium, the connexion between buyers and 
sellers, is not merely expressed. This connexion is originated 
'by, and exists in, the circulation alone. Contrari wise, the 
movement of the means of payment expresses a social relation 
that was in existence long before. 
The fact that a number of sales take place simultaneously, 
and side by side, lin1Ïts the extent to which coin can be re- 
placed by the rapidity of currency. On the other hand, this 
fact is a new lever in economirsing the means of payment. In 
proportion as payments are concentrated at one spot, special 
institutions and methods are developed for their liquidation. 
Such in the middle ages were the virement8 at Lyons. The 
detts due to A from B, to B from 0, to C from A, and so on, 
have only to be confronted with each other, in order to annul 
each other to a certain extent like positive and negative 
qu anti. ties. There thus remains only a single balance 
to pay. The greater the amount of the payments concen- 
trated, the less is this balance relatively to that amount, 
and the le
s is the mass of the meallH of payment in 
The function of money as the means of payment implies a 
government purchases opium from the ryots of India. . . . In theøe cases, however, the 
money always acts 88 8 means of purchase. . . . Of courlle calJital also is ad- 
vanced in the shape of money. . . . This point of view, however, does not fall 
"ithin the horizon of simple circulation." (" Zur Kritik." &c., Pl-'. 119, 120.) 

llfo1ze)', or the Circulation of Comnzoditics. 115 

.contradiction without a terminus medius. In 80 far as the 
payments balance one another, money functions only ideally 
a.s money of account, as a measure of value. In so far as actual 
.}}ayments have to be made, money does not serve as a circu- 
lé1ting medium, as a mere transient agent in the interchange 
of products, but as the individual incarnation of social labour, 
.as the independent fOrIll of existence of exchange value, as the 
al comillodity. This contradiction comes to a head in 
those phases of industrial and commercial crises which are 
kno,vn as monetary crises. 1 Such a crisis occurs only where 
the ever-lengthening chain of payments, and an artificial system 
of settling them, has been fully developed. Whenever there 
is a general and extensive disturbance of this mechanism, no 
matter what its cause, money becomes suddenly and immedi- 
ately transformed, from its merely ideal shape of money of 
account, into hard cash. Profane commodities can no longer 
replace it. The use-value of commodities becomes valueless, 
Rnd their value vani&hes in the presence of its own independent 
form. On the eve of the crisis, the bourgeois, with the self- 
sufficiency that springs from intoxicating prosperity, declares 
money to be a vain imagination. Commodities alone are 
money. But now the cry is everywhere: money alone is a 
commodity! Aß t.he hart pants after fresh water, so pants his 
soul after money, the only wealth.' In a crisis, the antithesia 
bet,veen commodities and their value-form, money, becomes 
heightened into an absolute contradiction. Hence, in such 
events, the form under which money appears is of no import- 

] The monetary crisis referred to in the text, being a phase of every crisis, must be 
-clearly distinguished from that particular form of crisis, which also is called a mone- 
tary crisis, but which may be produced by itself as an independent phenomenon in 
such a way as to react only indirectly on industry and commerce. The pivot of these 
cli!=es is to be found in moneyed capital, and th
ir sphere of direct action is there. 
-fore the sphere of that capital, viz., banking, the stock exchange, and finance. 
2 "The sudden reversion from a system of credit to a system of hard cash heaps 
theoretical fright on top of the practical panic; and the dealers by whose agency 
-circulation is affected, shudder before the impenetrable mystery in which their own 
economical relations are involved" (Karl :Marx, 1. c.p. 126). "The poor stand still, be- 
cause the rich have no money to employ them, though they have the same land and 
hands to provide victuals and clothes, as ever they had; . . . which is the true Riches 
of a Nation, and Dot the money." (John Bdlers: "Proposals for raising a Colledge 
..of Industry," Lond. IG
3. p. 3.) 

I 16 

Caþitalist Production. 

ance. The money famine continues, whether payments have:- 
to be made in gold or in credit money such as bank-notes. 1 
If we now consider the sum total of the money current dur- 
ing a given period, we shall find that, given the rapidity of 
currency of the circulating medium and of the mean
 of pay- 
ment, it is equal to the sum of the prices to be realised, plus 
the sum of the payments falling due, minus the payments that 
balance each other, minus finally the number of circuits in 
which the same piece of coin serves in turn as means of 
circulation and of payment. Hence, even when prices, rapidity 
of currency, and the extent of the economy in payments, are 
given, the quantity of money current and the mass of com- 
modities circulating during a given period, such as a day, no 
longer correspond. Money that represents cOlnmodities long 
withdrawn from circulation, continues to be current. Com- 
modities circulate, whose equivalent in money will not appear 
on the scene till some future day. Moreover, the debts con- 
tracted each day, and the payments falling due on the sarne 
day, are quite incommensurable quantities.' 
Credit-money springs directly out of the function of money 
as a means of payment. Certificates of the debts owing for the 

1 The following shows how such times are exploited by the II amis du commerce." 
liOn one occasion (1839) an old grasping banker (in the city) in his private room raised 
the lid of the desk he sat over, and displayed to a friend rolls of banknotes, saying 
with intense glee there were 
600,OOO of them, they were held to make money tight, 
and would all be let our after three o' clock on the same day." (" The Theory of 
Exchanges. The Bank Charter Act of 1844." Lond. 1864. p. 81.) The Obst'1'7)er, a. 
semi-official government organ, contained the following paragraph on 24th April, 1864: 
"Some very curious rurnours are current of the means which have been resorted to 
in order to create a scarcity of Banknotes. . . .. Questionable as it would seem, to 
suppose that any trick of the kind would be adopted, the report has been so universal 
that it really deserves mention." 
s "The amount of purchases or contracts entered upon during the course of any given 
day, will not affect the quantity of money afloat on that particular day, but, in the 
vast majority of cases, will resolve themselves into multifarious drafts upon the 
quantity of money which may be afloat at subsequent dates more or less distant. 
. . . . The bills granted or credits opened, to-day, need have no resemblance 
whatever. either in quantity, amount, or duration, to those granted or entered upon 
to-morrow or next day; nay, many of to-day's bills, anJ. credits, when due, fall in 
with a mass of liabilities whose origins traverse a range of antecedent dates altogether 
indefinite, bills at 12, 6, 3 months or 1 often aggregating together to swell the common 
liabilities of one particular day. . . . " (" 
rhe Currency Theory Reviewed: a 
letter to the Scottish people." By a Banker in England. Edinburgh, 1845, pp. 29, 30 
"assim. ) 

llIolley, or the Circulatio1t of Conzmodities. I 17 

purchased commodities circulate for the purpose of transferring 
those debts to others. On the other hand) to the same extent 
as the system of credit is extended, so is the function of Inoncy 
as a means of payn1ent. In that character it takes various 
forms peculiar to itself under' ,vhich it makes itself at home in 
the sphere of great commercial transactions. Gold and silver 
coin, on the other hand, are mostly relegated to the sphere of 
retail trade. 1 
\Vhen the production of commodities has sufficiently ex- 
tended itself, money begins to serve as the means of payment 
beyond the Bphere of the circulation of cOlnmodities. It 
becomes the commodity that is t11e universal subject-matter of 
all contracts. s Rent8, taxes) and such like payments are 
transformed from payments in kind into money payments. To 
what extent this transformation depends upon the general 
conditions of production) is shown, to take one example) by the 
fact that the Roman Empire twice failed in its attempt to levy 
all contributions in money. The unspeakable misery of the 
French agricultural population under Louis XIV., a misery so 
.eloquently denounced by Boisguillebert J Marshal, Vauban, and 
.others, was due not only to the weight of the taxes) but also 

'Bankers' and Merchants' Bills 
payable after date, - 
Cheques on Bankers, &c., 
pd.yable on demand, - 
Country Notes, 
Bank of England Notes, 
Silver and Copper, 
Post Office Orders, 

1 A.B an example of how little rea.dy money Is required in true commercial opera- 
tions, I give below a statement by one of the largest London houses of its yearly 
receipts and payments. Its transactions during the year 1856, extending to many 
millions of pounds sterling, are here reduced to the scale of one million. 
Bills payable after date, . CW2,674 
Cheques on London Bankers,- 663,672 
Bank of England Notes, 22,743 
Gold, 9,427 
Silver and Copper. 1,484 



- õEl,OOO,OOO 


:El, 000, 000 

II Report from the Select Committee on the Bank Acts, July, 1858," p. lxxi. 
I ., The course of trade being thus turned, from exchanging of goods for goods, or 
delivering and t.aking, to 8elling and paying, all the bargains . . . are now ltated 
upon the foot of a Price in money." !' An Essay upon Publi.k Oredit." 3rð Ed. 
Lond., 1710. p. 8.) 


C aþitalist P,'oductio1Z. 

to the conversion of taxes in kind into money taxes. 1 In Asia,. 
on the other hand, the fact that state taxes are chiefly conlposed 
of rents payable in kind, depends on conditions of production 
that are reproduced with the regularity of natural phenomena. 
And this mode of payment tends in its turn to maintain the 
ancient form of production. It is one of the secrets of the con- 
servation of the Ottoman Empire. If the fo
eign trade, forced 
upon Japan by Europeans, should lead to the substitution of 
money rents for rents in kind, it will be all up with tbe 
exemplary agriculture of that country. The narrow economical 
conditions under which that agriculture is carried on, will be 
swept away. 
In every country, certain days of the year become by habit 
recognised settling days for various large and recurrent pay- 
ments. These dates depend, apart from other revolutions in the 
wheel of reproduction, on conditions closely connected with 
the seasons. They also regulate the dates for payments that 
have no direct connexion with the circulation of commodities 
such as taxes, rents, and so on. The quantity of money re- 
quisite to make the payments, falling due on those dates all 
over the country, causes periodical, though merely superficial, 
perturbations in the economy of the medium of payment. 
From the law of the rapidity of currency of the means of 

1 U L'argent . . . est devenu le bourrea.u de toutes choses." Finance is the U alambic 7 
qui a fait évaporer une quantité effroyable de biens et de denrées pour faire ce fatal 
précis." " L'argent déclare 180 guerre à tout Ie genre humain." (Boisguillebert: 
" Dissertation Bur la nature des richesses, de l'argent et des tributs. n Edit. Daire. 
Econornistes financiers. Paris, 1843, t. i., pp. 413, 419, 417.) 
I " On Whitsuntide, 1824, n say! Mr Craig before the Commons' Committee of 1826, 
II there was such an immense demand for notes upon the banks of Edinburgh, that 
by 11 o'clock they had not a note left in their custody. They Bent round to all the 
different banks to borrow, but could not get them, and many of the transactions 
were adjusted by slips of paper only; yet by three o'clock the whole of tbe notes 
were returned into the banks from which they bad issued! It was a mere transfer 
from hand to hand." Although the average effective circulation of bank-notes in 
Scotland is less than three millions sterling, yet on certain pay days in the year, 
every single note in the possession of the bankers, amounting in the whole to about 
:E7,OOO,OOO, is called into activity. On these occasions the notes have a single and 
specific function to perform, and 80 soon as they have performed it, they flow back 
into the va.rious banks from which they issued. (See Jobn Fullarton, "Regulation of 
Currencies." Lond: 1844, p. 85 note). In explanation it should be stated, 
that in Scotland, at the date of FulladoD.'s work, notes and not cbeQua& wera used t
withdraw deposits. 

Afoney, or the Circulation of C01JtJltodzties. 119 
payment, it follows that the quantity of the means of pay- 
ment required for all periodical payments, ,vhatever their 
source, is in inverse proportion to the length of their periods. 
The development of money into a medium of payment 
makes it necessary to accumulate money against the dates 
fixed for the payment of the sums owing. While hoarding, as 
a distinct mode of acquiring riches, vanishes with the progress 
of civil society, the formation of reserves of the means of pay- 
ment grows with that progress. 

c. Universal Money. 
When money leaves the home sphere of circulation, it 
strips off the local garbs which it there assumes, of a standard 
of prices, of coin, of tokens, and of a symbol of value, and re- 
turns to its original form of bullion. In the trade between the 

 markets of the world, the value of commodities is expressed so 
as to be universally recognised Hence their independent 
I value-form also, in these cases, confronts them under the 
shape of universal money. It is only in the markets of the 
world that money acquires to the full extent the character of the 
commodity whose bodily form is also the immediate social in- 
carnation of human labour in the abstract. Its real mode of 
existence in this sphere adequately corresponds to its ideal 
'Vithin the sphere of home circulation, there can be but one 
commodity which, by serving as a meãsure of value, becomes 
money. In the markets of the world a double measure of 
value holds sway, gold and silver. 1 
1 To the question, "If there were occasion to raise 40 millions p.a., whether the 
øame 6 millions (gold) . . . would suffice for such revolutions and circulations thereof, 
as trade requires," Petty replies in his usual masterly manner, "I ans wer yes : for the 
expense being 40 millions, if the revolutions were in such short ciI-cles, viz., weekly, 
&s happens among poor artizans and labourers, who receive and pay every Saturday, 
then t
 parts of 1 million of money would answer these ends; but ü the circles be 
quaJ'terly, according to our custom of paying rent, and gathering taxes, theu 10 
millions were requisite. Wherefore, 8Upposing payments in general to be of a mixed 
circle between one week and 13, then add 10 millions to it. the half of which will 
be 5
, so as if we have 5! millions we have enough." (William Petty: "Political 
Anatomy of Ireland." 1672. Edit.: Lond. 1691, pp. 13. 14.) 
2 Hence the absurdity of every law prescribing that the banks of a country shall 
form reserves of that preciou8 metal alone which circulates at home. The" plea8an1ï 


Caþltalz'st Productio1Z. 

Money of the world serves as the universal medium of 
payment, as the universal means of purchasing, and as the 
universally recognised embodiment of all wealth. Its function 
aB a means of payment in the settling of international balances 
is its chief one. Hence the watchword of the mercantilists, 
balance of trade. 1 Gold and silver serve as international means 
of purchasing chiefly and necessarily in those periods when 
the customalY equilibrium in the interchange of products 
between different nations is suddenly disturbed. And lastly, 
it serves as the universally recognised embodilnent of social 
,vealtb, whenever the question is not of buying or paying, but 
of transferring wealth fron1 one country to another, and when- 
ever this transference in the form of commodities is rendered 
Ì1npossible, either by special conjunctures in the markets, or 
by the purpose itself tbat is intended.
Just as every country needs a reserve of money for its home 
élrculation, so, too, it requires one for external circulation in 

difficulties" thus self-created by the Bank of England, are well known. On the 
subject of the great epochs in the history of the changes in the relative value of gold and 
silver, see Karl Marx, 1. c. p. 136 sq. Sir Robert Peel, by his Bank Act of 1844, sought 
to tide over the difficulty, by allowing the Bank of .England to issue notes against 
silver bullion, on condition that the reserve of silver should never exceed more than 
one-fourth of the reserve of gold. The value of silver being for that purpose estimated 
at its price in the London market. 
1 The opponents, themselves, of the mercantile system, a system which considered 
the settlement of surplus trade balances in gold and silver as the aim of international 
trade, entirely misconceived the functions of money of the world. I have shown by 
the example of Ricardo in what way their false conception of the laws that regulate 
the quantity of the circulating medium, is reflected in their equally false conception 
of the international movement of the precious metals (1. c. pp. 150 sq.) His 
erroneous dogma: 
'An unfavourable balance of traJe never arises but from a re- 
dundant currency. . .. The exportation of the coin is caused by its cheapness, and 
is not the effect, but the cause of an unfavourable balance," already occurs in Barbon: 
"The Balance of Trade, if there be one, is not the cause of sending away the money 
out of a nation.; but that proceeds from the difference of the value of bullion in 
every country." (N. Barbon; 1. c. pp. 59,60.) MacCulIoch in "the Literature of 
Political Economy, a classified catalogue, Lond. 1845," praises Barbon for this anti- 
cipation, but prudently passes over the naïve forms, in which Barbon clothcs the 
ahsurd supposition on which the" currency principle" is based. The absence of real 
criticism and even of honesty, in that catalogue, culminates in the sections devoted 
to the history of the theory of money; the reason is that MacCulIoch in this part of 
the work is flattering Lord Overstone whom he calls "facile princeps argentariorum." 
1 For instance, in subsidies, money loans for carrying on wars or for ena.bling banks 
to resume cash payments, &p.__ it is the money form, and no other, of value that ma, 
be wanted. 

llI01ley, or the Circ1l1ati01t of C011111zodities. 121 
the markets of the world. The functions of hoards, therefore, 
arise in part out of the function of money. as the medium of 
the home circulation and home payments, and in part out 
of ib;; function of money of the \vorld.] For this latter func- 
tion, the genuine money-commodity, actual gold and silver, is 
necessary. On that account, Sir James Steuart, in order to 
distinguish them from their purely local substitutes, calls gold 
and silver "money of the world." 
The current of the stream of gold and silver is a double one. 
On the one hand, it spreads itself from its sources over all the 
Inarkets of the world, in order to become absorbed, to various 
extents, into the diflèrent national spheres of circulation, to 
fill the conduits of currency, to replace abraded gold and silver 
coins, to supply the material of articles of luxury, and to 
petrify into hoards. J This first current is started by the 
countries that exchange their labour, realised in commodities, . 
for the labour embodied in the precious metals by gold and 
sil ver-producing countries. On the other hand, there is a con- 
tinual flowing backwards and forwards of gold and silver be- 
t,veen the different national spheres of circulation, a current 
,yhose motion depends on the ceaseless fluctuations in the 
course of exchange.' 
Countries in which the bourgeois form of production is de- 
veloped to a certain extent, lin1it the hoards concentrated in 
the strong rooms of the banks to the minimum required for 

1 u I woul(l desire, indeed, no more convincing evidence of the competency of the 
machinery of the hoards in specie-paying countries to perform every necessary office 
of international adjustment, without any sensible aid from the general circulation, 
than the facility with which France, when but just recovering from the ehock of a 
destructive foreign invasion, completed within the space of 27 months the payment 
of her forc
d contribution of nearly 20 millions to the allied powers, and a consider-- 
able proportion of the eum in specie, without any perceptible contraction or derange- 
ment of her domestic currency, or even any alarming fluctuation of her exchanges!' 
(Fullarton, 1. c., p. 134.) 
2 "L'argent se partage entre les nations relativement au besoin qu'elles en ont . . . 
étant toujoure attirê par les productions." (Le TrosDe 1. c., p. 916.) " The mines 
which are continually giving gold and silver, do give sufficient to supply such a. need- 
ful balance to every nation." (J. Vanderlint, 1. c., p. 40.) 
3 "Exchanges rise and fall every week, and at some particular times in the year 
run high against a nation, and at other times run as high on the contrary. It (N. 
Barbon, I. c., p. 39.) 


Caþitallst Production. 

the proper performance of their peculiar functions.! When- 
ever these hoards are strikingly above their average level, it 
is, with some exceptions, an indication of stagnation in the 
circulation of commodities, of an interruption in the even flow 
of their metamorphoses. t 

1 These various functions are liable to come into (1:1.ngerous conflict with one an.. 
other whenever gold and silver have also to serve as a fund for the conversion of bank- 
I " What money is more than of absolute necessity for a Home Trade, is dead 
Btock . . . and brings no profit to that country it's kept in, but as it is transported in 
trade, as well as imported." (John Bellers, Essays, p. 12.) "What if we have too 
much coin? We may melt down the heaviest and turn it Into the splendour of plater 
vessels or utensils of gold or silver; or send it out as 80 commodity, where the Bame 
is wanted or desired; or let it out at interest, where interest is high." (W. Petty: 
"Quantulumcunque," p. 39.) "Money is but the fat of the Body Politick, whereof 
too much doth as often hinder its agility, as too little makes it sick. . . . as fat 
lubricates the motion of the muscles, feeds in want of victuals, fills up the uneven 
cavities, and beautifies the body; so doth money in the state quicken its action, feed. 
from abroad In time of dearth at home j evens accounts . . and beautifies the whole.' 
altho more especially the particular persons that have it in plenty." (W. Pettr 
., Politie&l Anatomy of Irela.nd," p. l






THE circulation of commodities is the starting point of capital. 
The production of commodities, their circulation, and that more 
developed form of their circulation called commerce, these form 
the historical groundwork from which it rises. The modern 
history of capital dates from the creation in the 16th century 
of a world-embracing commerce and a world-embracing market. 
If we abstract from the material substance of the circulation 
of commodities, that is, from the exchange of the various use- 
values, and consider only the economic forms produced by this 
process of circulation, we find its final result to be money: this 
finaJ product of the circulation of commodities is the first form 
in which capital appears. 
As a matter of history, capital, as opposed to landed property, 
invariably takes the form at first of money; it appears as 
moneyed wealth, as the capital of the merchant and of the 
usurer} But we have no need to refer to the origin of capital 
in order to discover that the first form of appearance of capital 
is money. We can see it daily under our very eyes. All new 
capital, to commence with, comes on the stage, that is, on the 
market, whether of commodities, labour, or money, even in our 
1 The contrast between the power, based on the personal relations of dominion and 
servitude, that is conferred by landed property, and the impersonal power that is. 
given by money, is well expressed by the two French proverbs, "Nulle terre san8- 

ignenr," and" L'argent n'a pas de maître." 

12 4 

Caþitalist Productz'on. 

days, in the shape of money that by a definite process has to 
be transformed into capital. 
The first distinction we notice between money that is money 
only, and money that is capital, is nothing more than a differ- 
ence in their form of circulation. 
The simplest form of the circulation of commodities is e- 
M-C, the transformation of commodities into money, and the 
change of the money back again into commodities; or selling in 
order to buy. But alongside of this form we find another 
specifically different form: M-C-M, the transformation of 
money into commodities, and the change of commodities back 
again into money; or buying in order to sell. Money that 
circulates in the latter manner is thereby transformed into, he- 
comes capital, and is already potentially capital. 
Now let us examine the circuit M-C-1\i a little closer. It 
consists, like the other, of two antithetical phases. In the first 
phase, M-C, or the purchase, the money is changed into a com- 
modity. In the second phase, C-M, or the sale, the commodity 
is changed back again into money. The combination of these 
two phases constitutes the single movement whereby money is 
exchanged for a commodity, and the same commodity is again 
exchanged for money; whereby a commodity is bought in order 
to be Bold, or, neglecting the distinction in form between buying 
and selling, ,vhereby a commodity is bought with money, and 
then money is bought with a commodity.1 The result, in which 
the phases of the process vanish, is the exchange of money for 
money, M-1\1. If I purchase 2000 Ibs. of cotton for æl00, and 
resell the 2000 Ibs. of cotton for 
110, I have, in fact, exchanged 
;ClOO for ællO, money for money. 
Now it is evident that the circuit M-C-M would be 
absurd and without meaning if the intention were to exchange 
by this means two equal sums of money, 
lOO for 
lOO. The 
miser's plan would be far simpler and surer; he sticks to his 
ælOO instead of exposing it to the dangers of circulation. And 
yet, whether the merchant who has paid 
100 for his cotton 

1 "Avec de l'argent on achète des marcha.ndises, et avec des ma.rchandises on 
achète de l'argent." (Mercier de la Riviere: "L'ordre naturel et essentiel des sociétéø 
poIitiques," p. 543.) 

The General FOrl1l'ttla for Caþl-lal. 125 
Bells it for !llO, or lets it go for !100, or even 
50, his money 
}1as, at all events, gone through a characteristic and original 
movement, quite different in kind from that which it goes 
through in the hands of the peasant who sells corn, and with 
the money thus set free buys clothes. We have therefore to 
examine first the distinguishing characteristics of the forms of 
the circuits M-C-M and C-M-C, and in doing this the 
real difference that underlies the mere difference of form will 
reveal itself. 
Let us see, in the first place, what the two forms have in 
Both circuits are resolvable into the same two antithetical 
phases, C-M, a sale, and M-C, a purchase. In each of these 
phases the same nlaterial elements-a commodity, and money, 
and the same economical dramatis personæ, a buyer and a 
seller-confront one another. Each circuit is the unity of the 
same two antithetical phases, and in each case this unity is 
brought about by the intervention of three contracting parties, 
of ,vbom one only sells, another only buys, while the third both 
buys and sells. 
"That, however, first and foremost distinguishes the circuit 
C-)I-C from the circuit j\I-C-1I, -i3 the inverted order of 
succession of the two phases. The simple circulation of com- 
modities begins with a sale and ends with a purchase, \vhile 
the circulation of money as capital begins with a purchase 
and ends with a Rale. In the one case both the starting- 
point and the goal are commodities, in the other they are 
money. In the first form the movement is brought about 
by the intervention of money, in the second by that of a 
In the circulation C-M-C, the money is in the end con- 
verted into a commodity, that serves as a use-value; it is spent 
once for all. In the inverted form, M-C-M, on the contrary, 
the buyer lays out money in order that, as a seller, he 
may recover money. By the purchase of his commodity 
he throws money into circulation, in order to withdraw 
it again by the sale of the same commodity. He 1e1:8 the 
money go, but only with the sly intention of getting it 


Caþz:ta/is! Production. 

back again. The money, therefore, is not spent, it is merely 
ad vanced. 1 
In the circuit C-M-C, the same piece of money changes 
its place twice. The seller gets it from the buyer and pays it 
away to another seller. The complete circulation, which begins 
,vith the receipt, concludes with the payment, of money for 
commodities. It is the very contrary in the circuit M-C-
Here it is not the piece of mon
y that changes its place twice, 
but the commodity. The buyer takes it from the hands of 
the seller and passes it into the hands of another buyer. .T ust. 
as in the simple circulation of commodities the double change 
of place of the same piece of money effects its passage from one 
hand into another, so here the- double change of place of the 
same commodity brings about the reflux of the money to its 
point of departure. 
Such reflux is not dependent on the commodity being sold 
for more than was paid for it. This circumstance influences 
only the amount of the money that comes back. The reflux 
itself takes place, so soon as the purchased commodity is re- 
Rold, in other words, so soon as the circuit M-C-M is com- 
pleted. We have here, therefore, a palpable difference between 
the circulation of money as capital, and its circulation as mere 
The circuit C-
I-C comes completely to an end, so soon 
as the money brought in by the sale of one commodity is 
abstracted again by the purchase of another. 
If, nevertheless, there follows a reflux of money to its start- 
ing point, this can only happen through a renewal or repeti- 
tion of the operation. If I sell a quarter of corn for æ3, and 
with this æs buy clothes, the money, so far as I am concerned, 
is spent and done with. It belongs to the clothes merchant. 
If I now sell a second quarter of corn, money indeed flows 
hack to me, not however as a sequel to the first transaction, 
but in 
onsequence of its repetition. The money again leaves 
Ine, so soon as I complete this second transaction by a fresh 
1 " 'Then a thing is bought ill order to be sold again, the Bum employed is called 
money advanced; when it is bought not to be sold, it may be said to be expended."- 
(James Steuart: "'Yorks," &c. Edited by Gen. Sir James Steuart, his son. LOltd., 
1805. V. I.t p. 274.) 


The Gcnc}a! FOrJ11Ula jor Caþital. 127 

purchase. Therefore, in the circuit C-M -C, the expenditure 
of money has nc,thing to do with its reflux. On the other 
band, in .M.-C-
f, the reflux of the InoDey is conditioned by 
the very mode of its expenditure. Without this reflux, the 
operation fails, or the process is interrupted and incomplete, 
owing to the absence of its complementaryanù final phase, the 
The circuit C-M-C starts with one commodity, and 
finishes with another, which falls out of circulation and into 
consumption. Consumption, the satisfaction of wants, in ne 
word, use-value, is its end and aim. The circuit 
on the contrary, commences with money and ends with money. 
Its leading motive, and the goal that attracts it, is therefore 
mere exchange value. 
In the sÏI:nple circulation of commodities, the two extremes of 
the circuit have the same economic form. They are both COlll- 
modities, and commodities of equal value. But they are also 
use-values differing in their qualities, as, for example, corn and 
clothes. The exchange of products, of the different nlaterials in 
which the labour of society is embodied, forms here the basis 
of the Illovement. It is otherwise in the circulation M -C- M, 
which at first sight appears purposeless, because tautological. 
Both extremes have the same economic form. They are both 
Inoney, and therefore are not qualitatively different use-values; 
for money is but the converted form of commodities, in which 
their particular use-values vanish. To exchange .flOO for 
cotton, and then this same cotton again for .flOO, is merely a 
roundabout way of exchanging money for money, the same for 
the same, and appears to be an operation just as purposeless as 
it is absurd. 1 One sum of money is distinguishable from another 

1 U On n'échange pas de l'argent contre de l'argent," says Mercier de lar Rivière to 
the l\Ierca.ntilists (L c., p. 486.) In a work, which, ex professo, treat. of " trade " and 
" speculation, U occurs the following: "All trade consists in the excha.nge of things 
of different kinds; and the advantage" (to the merchant?) "a.rises out of this 
difference. To exchange a pound of bread against a pound of bread . . . . 
would be attended with no advantage; . . . . Hence trade is advantageously 
contrasted with gambling, which consists in a mere exchange of money for money." 
(Th. Corbet, "An Inquiry into the Causes and Modes of the 'Vealth of Individuals; 
or the Principles of Trade and Speculation explained." London, 1841, p. 5.) Although 
Corbet does Dot see that l\I-M, the exchange of money for money, is the characteristia 


Caþitalist Production. 
only by its amount. The character and tendency of the pro- 
cess M-C--M, is therefore not due to any qualitative differencð 
between its extremes, both being money, but solely to their 
quantitative difference. More money is withdrawn from circula- 
tion at the finish than was thrown into it at the start. The 
cotton that was bought for ëßIOO is perhaps resold for .flOO + 
LIO or LllO. The exact form of this process is therefore 
C- M', w here 
i' = M + ð. !i = the original sum advanced, 
plus an increment. This increment or excess over the original 
value I call U surplus-value." The value originally advanced
therefore, not only remains intact while in circulation, but adds 
to itself a surplus-value or expands itself. It is this movement 
that converts it into capital. 
Of course, it is also possible, that in C-M-C, the two 
extremes C-C, say corn and clothes, may represent different 
quantities of value. The farmer may sell his corn above its 
value, or may buy the clothes at less than their value. He 
may, on the other hand, (C be done" by the clothes merchant. 
Yet, in the form of circulation now under consideration, such 
differences in value are purely accidental. The fact that the 
corn and the clothes are equivalents, does not deprive the pro- 
cess of all meaning, as it does in M-C-M. The equivalence 
of their values is rather a necessary condition to its normal 
'rhe repetition or renewal of the act of selling in order to 
buy, is kept within bounds by the very object it aims at, 
namely, consumption or the satisfaction of definite wants, an 
aim that lies altogether outside the sphere of circulation. But 
when we buy in order to sell, we, on the contrary, begin and 


form of circulation, not only of merchants' capital but of all capital, yet at least he 
acknowledges that this form is common to gambling and to one species of trade, viz., 
speculation: but then comes MacCulloch and makes out, that to buy in order to sell, 
is to speculate, and thus the difference between Speculation and Trade vanishes. 
" Every transaction in which an individual buys produce in order to sell it again, is, 
in fact, a speculation." (MacCulloch:" A Dictionary Practical, &c., of Commerce." 
Lond.,1847, p. 1058.) With much more naïveté, Pinto, the Pindar of the Amster- 
dam Stock Exchange, remarks, "Le commerce est un jeu: (taken from Locke) et ce 
n'est pas avec des gueux qu'on peut gagner. Si l'on gagnait long-temps en tout avec 
tous, il faudrait rendre de bon accord les plus grande8 parties du profit pour recom- 
mencer Ie jeu. s, (Pinto:" Traité de 180 Circulation et du Crédit." Amsterdam, 1171, 
p. 231.) 

The Ce1!e-al FOY1Jtula for Caþ ita I. 129 

end with the same thing, money, excha.nge..value; and thereby 
the movement becomes interminable. No doubt, lYI becornes 
M + 
 M, .g100 become 1:110. But when vieweù in their 
qualitative aspect alone, !llO are the same as !IOU, nanlely 
money; and considered quantitatively, !llO is, like 
100, a 
sum of definite and limited value. If now, the .tllO be spent 
as money, they cease to play their part. They are no longer 
capital. Withdrawn from circulation, they become petrified 
into a hoard, and though they remained in that state till 
doomsday, not a single farthing would accrue to thcIn. If, 
then, the expansion of value is once aimed at, there i
 just the 
same inducement to augment the value of the !llO as that uf 
the .tIOO; for both are but limited eÀpressions for exchange- 
value, and therefore both have the same vocation to appro1\Jd
by quantitative increase, as near as possible to absolute wealth. 
Momentarily, indeed, the value originally advanccd, the f.100 
is distinguishable from the surplus value of !lO that is an- 
nexed to it during circulation; but the distinction vani
immediately. At the end of the process, we do not receive 
with one hand the original .t100, and with the other, the 
surplus-value of !lO. We simply get a value of !110, which 
is in exactly the same condition and fitness for COIDIllenClng 
the expanding process, as tbe original .ßIOO wa.
Ioney ends 
the movement only to begin it again. l Therefore, the final 
re.'5ult of every separate circuit, in which a purchase and con- 
sequent sale are completed, forms of itself the starting point 
of a new circuit. The simple circulation of commodities- 
selling in order to buy-is a means of carrying out a purpolie 
unconnected with circulation, namely, the appropriation of 
use-values, the satisfaction of wants. The circulation of money 
as capital is, on the contrary, an end in itself, for the expansion 
of value takes place only within this constantly renewed 
movement. The circulation of capital has therefore no lin1Ïts. 1 
1 U Ca.pital is divisible. . . . into the original capital and the profit, the i.ncrement 
to the capital. . . . although in practice this profit is immediately turned into 
capital, and set in motion with the original." (F. Engels, "Umrisse zu einer Kritik 
der Nationa.lökonOIpie, in: Deub!ch-Französische Jahrbücher, herausgegeben von 
Arnold Ruge und Karl Marx." Pari!, 1844, p. 99.) 
i Aristotle opposea <:Economic to ChrematiBtic. He st
rts from the former. 50 
far ail it is the art of gaining a livelihood, it is limited w procuring those articles 

13 0 

Caþitalzst Production. 

"Thus the conscious representative of this movement, the 
possessor of money becomes a capitalist. His person, or rather 
his pocket, is the point from which the money starts and to 
which it returns. The expansion of value, which is the 
objective basis or main-spring of the circulation M-C-M, 
becomes his subjective aim, and it is only in so far as the 
appropriation of ever more and more wealth in the abstract 
becomes the sole motive of his operations, that he functions as 
a capitalist, that is, as capital personified and endowed with 
consciousness and a will. Use-values must therefore never 
be looked upon as the real aim of the capitalist; 1 neither 
must the profit on any single transaction. The restless never- 
ending process of profit-making alone is what he aims at.' 
that are necessary to existence, and useful either to a household or the !tate. "True 
wealth (ó åÀ"

lIò. <KÀOÛTO.) conlists of amch values in use; for the quantity of pos- 
sessions of this kind, capable of making life pleasant, is not unlimited. There is, 
however, a second mode of acquiring things, to which we may by preference and 
with correctness give the name of Chrematistic, and in this ca&e there appear to be 
no limits to riches and possessions. Trade (" x.""À
X" is literally retail trade, and 
Aristotle takes this kind because in it values in use predominate) does not in its 
nature belong to Chrematistic, for here the exchange has reference only to what is 
necessary to themselves (the buyer or !eller)." Therefore, as he goes on to show, 
the original form of trade was barter, but with the extension of the latter, there 
arose the necessity for money. On the di!coveryof money, barter of necessity de- 
veloped into 1CfJt.."À'"", into trading in commodities, and this, in opposition to 
its original tendency, grew into Chrematistic, into the art of making money. Now 
Chrematistic is distinguishable from <Economic in this way, that" in the caso of 
Chrematistic, circulation is the source of riohes (ø;r.t"'T'X,, XP",,&TIIJ. . . . . ),à 

aßo"X1í.). And it appears to revolve about money, for money is the be- 
ginning and end of this kind of exchange (T. ,,6., .ðp."lA-a ''l'.'X.îø. xfJtl ø;rí,as 
åXXa'Y17. in-:.). Therefore also riches, such as Chrematistio strives for, are Uh- 
limited. Just as every art that is not a means to an end, but an end in itself, has 
no limit to its aim!, because it seeks constantly to approach nearer and nearer to 
that end, while those arts that pursue means to an end, are not boundless, since 
the goal itself imposes a limit upon them, so with Chrematistic, there are no bounds 
\0 its aims, these aims being absolute wea.Uh. <Economic not Chrematistic has a 
limit . . . . the object of the former is something different from money, of the 
latter the augmentation of money. . . . By confounding these two forms, which 
overlap each other, some people have been led to look upon the preservation and 
increase of money ad infinitum as the end and aim of <Economic." (Aristoteles De 
Rep. edit. Bekker. lib. I. c. 8, 9. passim.) 
1 "Commodities (here used in the sense of use-values) are not the terminating object 
of the trading capitalist, money is his terminating object." (Th. Chalmers, On Pol. 
Econ. &c., 2nd Ed., Glasgow, 1832, p. lü5, 166.) 
,( n mercante non conta quasi per niente illucro fatto, ma mira sempre al futuro.' 
(A. Genovesi, Lezioni di Economia Civile (17ü5), Custodi's edit. of Italian Economists. 
Parte l\Ioùcrna t. viii. 1>. l;:3U.) 

The General FOrJJIUla for Caþ ita I. 131 

'l'his boundless greed after riches, this passionate chase after 
exchange-value,l is common to the capitalist and the miser; 
but while the miser is merely a capitalist gone mad, the 
capitalist is a rational miser. The never-ending augmentation 
of exchange-value, which the miser strives after, by seeking to 
save' his money from circulation, is attained by the more acute 
capitalist, by constantly throwing it afresh into circulation. 8 
The independent form, i.e., the money-form, which the value 
()f commoditieR assumes in the case of simple circulation, serves 
only one purpose, namely, their exchange, and vanishes in the 
final result of the movement. On the other hand, in the circula- 
tion M-C-M, both the money and the commodity represent 
only different modes of existence of value itself, the money its 
general mode, and the commodity its particular, or, so to say, 
disguised mode! It is constantly changing from one fonn to 
the other without thereby becoming lost, and thus assumes an 
autoll1atically active character. If no,v we take in turn each 
of the two different forms which self-expanding value suc- 
cessively a'3sumes in the course of its life, we then arrive at 
these t\VO propositions: Capital is money: Capital is com- 
.Jl1odities. 6 In truth, ho,vever, value is here the active factor in 
a process, in which, while constantJy assuming the form in turn 
of money and commodities, it at the same time changes in 
magnitude, differentiates itself by throwing off surplus-value 
from itself; the original value, in other words, expands spon- 
taneously. For the movement, in the course of which it adds 
surplus value, is its own movement, its expansion, therefore, is 
1 U The inextinguishable p8-ssion for gain, the auri sacra fames, will always lead 
C3 pita.lists. " (MacCulloch: "The principles of Polito Econ. "London, 1830, p. 179.) This 
view, of course, does not prevent the same MacCulloch and others of his kidney, 
when in theoretical difficulties, such, for example, as the question of over-production, 
from transforming the same capitalist into a moral citizen, whose lole concern is for 
use-values, and who even developes an insatiable hunt;er for boots, hats, eggs, calico, 
and other extremely familiar sorts of use-values. 

111/ is a characteristic Greek expression for hoarding. So in English to save 
has the same two meanings: sauver and épargner. 
3 " Questo infinito che Ie cose non hanno in progresso, hanno in giro." (Galiani.) 
.. " Cc n'est pas la. matière qui fait Ie capital, mais la. valeur de ces matièrcs." (J. 
B. Say: "Trai té de l'Econ. Polit." 3 ème. éd. Paris, 1817, t. 1., p. 428.) 
Ii "Currency (!) employed in producing articles. . . is capital." (J\IacLeod: U The 
Theory and Practice of Banking." London, 1855, v.I., cb. i., p. 55.) "Capitalis com w 
modities. " (James Mill: "Elements of Pol. Econ." Lond., 1821, p. 74.) 

13 2 

CaPitalist Production. 

automatic expansion. Because it is value, it has acquired the- 
occult quality of being able to add value to itself. It brings. 
forth living offspring, or, at the least, lays golden eggs. 
Value, therefore, being the active factor in such a process, 
and assuming at one time the form of money, at another that 
of commodities, but through all these changes preserving itself 
and expanding, it requires some independent form, by means of 
which its identity may at any time be established. And this 
form it possesses only in the shape of money. It is under the 
form of money that value begins and ends, and begins again, 
every act of its own 8pontaneous generation. It began Ly 
being .:EIOO, it is now .:EIIO, and so on. But the money itself 
is only one of the two forms of value. Unless it takes the fonn 
of some commodity, it does not become capital. There is here 
no antagonism, as in the case of hoarding, between the Inoney 
and commodities. The capitalist knows that all commodities, 
however scurvy they may look, or however badly they may 
smell, are in faith and in truth money, inwardly circumcised 
Jews, and what is more, a wonderful means where by out of 
money to Inake more money. 
In simple circulation, 0-1\1-0, the value of commodities 
attained at the most a form independent of their use-values, i.e., 
the form of money; but that same value now in the circulation 
M-C-M, or the circulation of capital, suddenly presents itself 
as an independent substance, endowed with a motion of its own, 
passing through a life-process of its own, in ,vhich money and 
commodities are mere forms which it assumes and casts off in 
turn. Nay, more: instead of simply representing the relations 
of commodities, it enters now, so to t;ay, into private relations 
with itself. It differentiates itself as original value from itself 
as surplus-val ue; as the father differentiates himself from himself 
quâ the son,yet both are one and of one age: for only by the surplus 
value of .:EIO does the .:EIOO originally advanced become capital, 
and so soon as this takes place, so soon as the son, and by the 
son, the fa.ther, is begotten, so soon does their difference vanish, 
and they again become one, .:EIIO. 
Value therefore no\v becomes value in process, money in pro- 
cess, and, as such, capital. It comes out of circulation, enters 

Lòntradiclions iu the FOY1Jlula of Caþital. 133 

into it again, preserves and multiplies itself within its circuit, 
comes back out of it with expanded bulk, and begins the same 
round ever afresh. l M-M', money which begets money, 
such is the description of Capital from the mouths of its first 
interpreters, the 
Buying in order to sell, or, more accurately, buying in order 
to sell dearer, 
I', appears certainly to be a form 
peculiar to one kind of capital alone, narnely, Inerchants' capital. 
But industrial capital too is money, that is changed into com- 
Inodities, anù by the sale of these COilllDodities, is re-convcrteå 
into more money. The events that take place outside tho 
sphere of circulation, in the interval between the buying and 
selling, do not affect the form of this movelncnt. Lastly, in the 
.case of interest-bearing capital, the circulation 
appears abridged. We have its result without the intermediáte 
stage, in the form .ðl-M', " en style lapidaire " so to say, money 
that is worth more money, value that is greater than itself. 

l-C-M' is therefore in reality the general formula of 
.capital as it appears prima facie \vithin the sphere of circulation. 



"THE form which circulation takes when money becomes 
-capital, is opposed to all the laws we have hitherto investigated 
bearing on the nature of cOlnmodities, value and money, and 
even of circulation itself. What distinguishes this form from 
that of the simple circulation of commodities, is the inverted 
order of succession of the two antithetical processes, sale and 
purchase. How can this purely formal distinction between 
these processes change their character as it were by magic ? 
But that is not all. This inversion has no existence for two 
out of the three persons who transact business together. As 
capitalist, I buy com modities from A and sell them again to B, 
1 Capital: "portion fructifiante de 1a richesse accumulée. . . valeur permanente. 
..multipliante." (Sismondi: "Nouveaux pl'Íllcipei de l'écon. polit.," t. i., p. 88. 89.) 


Caþlta/ist P1'oductio1Z. 

but as a simple owner of commodities, I sell theln to B and then 
purchase fresh ones from A. A and B see no difference 
Detween the two sets of transactions. 'rhey are merely buyers 
or sellers. And I on each occasion meet them as a mere owner 
of either money or commodities, as a buyer or a seller, and
what is more, in both sets of transactions, I am opposed to A 
only as a buyer and to B only as a seller, to the one only B4 
money, to the other only as commodities, and to neither 01 
them as capital or a capitalist, or as representative of anything 
that is more than money or commodities, or that can produce 
any effect beyond what money and commodities can. For me 
the purchase from A and the sale to B are part of a series. 
Eu t the connexion between the two acts exists for me alone. 
A does not trouble himself about my transaction with B, nor 
does B about my business with A. And if I offered to explain 
to them the meritorious nature of my action in inverting the 
order of succession, they would probably point out to me that 
I was mistaken as to that order of succession, and that the 
whole transaction, instead of beginning with a purchase and 
ending with a sale, began, on the contrary, with a sale and was 
concluded with a purchase. In truth, my first act, the purchase, 
was from the standpoint of A, a sale, and my second act, the 
sale, was from the standpoint of B, a purchase. Not content 
with that, A and B would declare that the whole series was 
superfluous and nothing but Hokus Pokus; that for the future 
A would buy direct froIn B, and B sell direct to A. Thus the 
whole transaction would be reduced to a single act forming an 
isolated, non-complemented phase in the ordinary circulation 
of commodities, a mere sale from A's point of view, and from 
B's, a mere purchase. The inversion, therefore, of the order of 
succession, does not take us outside the sphere of the sÎInple 
circulation of commodities, and we must rather look, whether 
there is in this sÍIl1ple circulation anything pennitting an ex- 
pansion of the value that enters into circulation, and, con- 
sequently, a creation of surplus-value. 
Let us take the process of circulation in a form under which 
it presents itself as a simple and direct exchange of commodities. 
This is always the case when two owners of commodities buy 

Contradictions z.n the Formula of Caþital. 135 

from each other, and on the settling day the amounts mutually 
owing are equal and cancel each other. The money in this 
case is money of account and serves to express the value of the 
commodities by their prices, but is not, itself, in the shape of 
hard cash, confronted with them. So far as regards use-values, 
it is clear that both parties may gain some advantage. Both 
part with goods that, as use-values, are of no service to them, 
and receive others that they can make use of. And there may 
also be a further gain. A, who sells wine and buys corn, 
possibly produces more wine, with given labour time, than 
farmer B could, and B, on the other hand, more corn than 
wine-grower A could. A, therefore, may get, for the same 
exchange value, more corn, and B more wine, than each would 
respectively get without any exchange by producing his own 
corn and wine. With reference, therefore, to use-value, there 
is good ground for 
aying that U exchange is a transaction by 
which both sides gain." 1 It is otherwise with exchange-value. 
" A man who has plenty of wine and no corn treats with a man 
who has plenty of corn and no wine; an exchange takes place 
between them of com to the value of 50, for wine of the same 
va]ue. This act produces no increase of exchange-value either 
for the one or the other; for each of them already possessed, 
before the exchange, a value equal to that which he acquired 
by means of that operation." t The result is not altered by 
introducing money, as a medium of circulation, between the 
commodities, and making the sale and the purchase two distinct 
acts.. The value of a commodity is expressed in its price 
before it goes into circulation, and is therefore a precedent 
condition of circulation, not its result. 4 
Abstractedly considered, that is, apart from circumstances 
not immediately flowing from the laws of the simple circulation 
of commodities, there is in an exchange nothing (if we except 

\ U L'échange est une transaction admirable dans laquelle les deux cOlltractants 
gagnent-toujours (1) " (Destutt de Tracy: U Traité de la V olonté et de ses effets." 
Paris, 1826, p. 68.) This work appeared afterwards as U Tra.ité de l'Econ. Polit." 
:6 .. Mercier de la Rivière," 1. c. p. 544. 
S "Que l'une de ces deux valeurs soit argent, ou qu'elles soient toutes deux mar. 
chandises u8uelles, rien de plus indifférent en soi." ("Mercier de la Rivière, " 1. ç. p. 543.) 
.. "Ce ne sont pasles contracta.nts qui prononcent SUl Is. valeur; eUe ellt décidée 
avant la convention." (" Le Trosne," p. 906.) 


13 6 

Caþitalist Productzon. 

the replacing of one use-value by another) but a metamorphosis, 
a mere change in the form of the commodity. The same 
exchange value, i.e., the same quantity of incorporated social 
labour, remains throughout in the hands of the owner of the 
commodity, first in the shape of his own commodity, then in 
the form of the money for ,vhich he exchanged it, and lastly, 
in the shape of the commodity he buys with that money. 
This change of form does not imply a change in the magnitude 
of the value. But the change, which the value of the 
comlnodity undergoes in this process, is limited to a change in 
its money form. This form exists first as the price of the com- 
modity offered for sale, then as an actual sum of money, which, 
however, was already expressed in the price, and lastly, as the 
price of an equivalent commodity. This change of form no 
more implies, taken alone, a change in the quantity of value, 
than does the change of a oL5 note into sovereigns, half sove- 
reigns and 
hillings. So far therefore as the circulation of 
commodities effects a change in the form alone of their values, 
and is free from disturbing influences, it must be the exchange 
of equivalents. Little as Vulgar-Economy kno'\vs about the 
nature of value, yet whenever it wishes to consider the 
phenomena of circulation in their purity, it assumes that supply 
and demand are equal, which amounts to this, that thejr effect 
is nil. If therefore, as regards the use-values exchanged, both 
buyer and seller may possibly gain something, this is not the 
ca..c;;e as regards the exchange values. Here we must rather say, 
"Where equality exists there can be no gain." 1 It is true, 
comlnodities may be sold at prices deviating from their values, 
but these deviations are to be considered as infractions of the 
la,vs of the exchange of commodities,
 which in its normal 
state is an exchange of equivalents, consequently, no method 
for increasing value! 
Hence, we see that behind an attempts to represent the 
1 "Dove è egualità. non è lucro.'. (Galiani, "Della. Moneta. in Custodi, Parte 
Moderna," t. iv. p. 244.) 
2 "L'échange devient désavantageux pour l'une des parties, lorsque quelque choBe 
étrangère vient diminuer ou exagérer Ie prix; alors l'égalité est blessée, mais la lésion 
procède de eette cause et non de l'échange." ("Le Trosne," 1. c. p. 904.) 
S "L'échange est de sa nature un contrat d'égalité qui ie fait de valeur pour valeur 
égale. 11 n'est done pas un moyen de s'enrichir, puisque l'on donne autant que l'OD 
rcçoit." ("Le Trosne,tJ L c. p. 903.) 

Contradictions i,l, the For1Jlula of Caþital. 137 

eirculation of commoditieR as a source of surplus-value, there 
lurks It quid pro quo, a n1ixing up of use-value and exchange- 
value. For instance, Condillac says: Cc It is not true that on 
an exchange of commodities we give value for value. On the 
contrary, each of the two contracting parties in every case, 
gives a less for a greater value. . . . If- ,ve really exchanged 
equal values, neither party could make a profit. And yet., they 
both gain, or ought to gain. \Vhy? The value of a thing 
consists solely in its relation to our wants. What is more to 
the one is less to the other, and vice versa. . . . It is not to be 
assumed that we offer for Hale articles required for our own 
consumption. . . . \Ve wish to part ,vith a useless thing, in 
order to get one that we need; we want to give less for more. 
. . . It was natural to think that, in an exchange, value was 
gi ven for value, whenever each of the articles exchanged was 
of equal value with the san1e quantity of gold. . . . But there 
is another point to be considered in our calculation. The 
question is, whether we both exchange something l'3uperfluous 
for something necessary." 1 \Ve see in this passage, how COll- 
dillac not only confuses use-value with exchange-value, but 
in a really childish manner assumes, that in a society, in which 
the production of commodities is well developed, each producer 
produces bis own means of subsistence, and throws into circu- 
lation only the excess over his own requirements.' Still, 
Condillac's argument is frequently used by modern economists, 
In ore especially when the point is to show, tbat the exchange 
of commodities in its developed form, commerce, is productive 
of surplus-value. For instance, cc Commerce. . . . adds value to 
products, for the same products in the hands of consumers, are 
worth more than in the hands of producers, and it may strictly 

1 CondilIac: "Le Commerce et Ie Gouvernement" (1776). Edit. Daire et Molinari 
in the" Mélanges d'Econ. Polit." Paris, 1847, p. 267, etc. 
, La Trosne, therefore, a.nswers his friend Condillac with justice as follows: (( Dana 
une. . . Bociété formée il n''1 a pas de surabondant en aucun genre." At the same time. 
in a bantering way, he remarks: "If both the persons who exchange receive m056 
to an equal amount, and part with less to an equal amount, they both get the !lame." 
It is because Condilla.c has not the remotest idea of the nature of exchange-value 
that he ha.s been chosen by Herr Professor Wilhelm Roscher as a proper person 
to answer for the soundness of his own childish notions. See Roscher's "Die Grund. 
lagen der Nationalökonomie, Dritte Auflage," J858. 

13 8 

Capitalist Production. 

be considered an act of production." 1 But commodities are not 
paid for twice over, once on account of their use-value, and 
again on account of their value. And though the use-value of 
S\ commodity is more serviceable to the buyer than to the 
seller, its money form is more serviceable to the seller. Would 
he otherwise sell it ? We might therefore just as well say 
that the buyer performs tt strictly an act of production," by 
converting stockings, for example, into money. 
If commodities,or commodities and money, of equal exchange- 
value, and consequently equivalents, are exchanged, it is plain 
that no one abstracts more value from, than he throws into, 
circulation. There is no creation of surplus-value. And, in 
its normal form, the circulation of commodities demands the 
exchange of equivalents. But in actual practice, the process 
does not retain its normal form. Let us, therefore, assume an 
exchange of non-equivalents. 
In any case the market for commodities is only frequented 
by owners of commodities, and the power which these persons 
exercise over each other, is no other than the power of their 
commodities. The material variety of these commodities is 
the material incentive to the act of exchange, and makes 
buyers and sellers mutually dependent, because none of them 
possesses the object of his own wants, and each holds in his 
hand the object of ftnother's wants. Besides these material 
differences of their use-values, there is only one other difference 
between commodities, namely, that between their bodily form 
and the form into which they are converted by sale, the differ- 
ence between commodities and money. And consequently the 
owners of commodities are distinguishable only as sellers, those 
who own commodities, and buyers, those who own money. 
Suppose then, that by Borne inexplicable privilege, the seller 
is enabled to sell his commodities above their value, what is 
worth 100 for 110, in which case the price is nominally raised 
10%. The seller therefore pockets a surplus value of 10. 
But after he has sold he becomes a buyer. A third owner of 
commodities comes to him now ai seller, who in this capacity 
also enjoys the privilege of selling his commodíties 10% too 
1 s. P. Newma.n: "Element. of Polito Eeon." Andover and New York. 18s:5, p. 175. 

Contradictions ,in the Forlnllla of Caþital. 139 

dear. Our friend gained 10 as a seller only to lose it again as 
a buyer. 1 The nett result is, that all owners of commodities 
sell their goods to one another at 10% above their value, which 
comes precisely to the same as if they sold thetn at their true 
value. Such a general and nonlÎnal rise of prices has the same 
effect as if the values had been expressed in weight of silver 
instead of in weight of gold. The n0111illal prices of com- 
modities would rise, but the real relation betw'een their values 
would remain unchanged. 
Let us Inake the opposite assumption, that the buyer has 
the privilege of purchasing commoùities under their value. 
In this case it is no longer necessary to bear in mind that he 
in his turn will become a seller. He was so before he became 
buyer; he had already lost 10% in selling before he gained 
10% as buyer.:I Everything is just as it was. 
The creation of surplus-value, and therefore the conversion 
of money into capital, can consequently be explained neither 
on the assumption that commodities are sold above their value. 
nor that they are bought below their value.' 
The problem is in no \vay simplified by introducing irrele- 
vant Inatters after the manner of Co1. Torrens: "Effectual 
demand consists in the power and inclination (!), on the part of 
cons U 111 ers, to give for cOIllmodities, either by immediate or 
circuitous barter, some greater portion of . . . capital than their 
production costs." 4 In relation to circulation, producers and 
consumers meet only as buyers and sellers. To assert that the 
surplus-value acquired by the producer has its origin in the 
fact that consumers pay for commodities more than their value, 

1 "By the augmentation of the nominal value of the produce . . . sellers not en- 
riched . . . since what they gain as seller!, they precisely expend in the quality of 
buyers." (" The Essential Principles of the Wealth of Nations," &e., London, 1797, 
p. 66.) 
2 "Si l'on cst forcé de donner pour 18 !ivres u
e quantité de telle production qui 

n valait 24, lorsqu'on employera ce même argent à acheter, on aura également pour 
181. ce que l'on payait 24." ("Le Trosne," 1. c. p. 897.) 
3 "Chaque vendeur ne peut done parvenir à renchérir babituellement sea marchan- 
dises, qu'en se soumettant aussi ã. payer habituellement plus cher les marchandise. 
des autres vendeurs; et par 180 même raison, chaque consommateur ne peut payer 
habituellement moins cher ce qu'il achète, qu'en l5e 150umettant aussi à une diminu- 
tion semblable sur Ie prix des choses qu'il vend." (" :Mercier de 180 Rivi
re," 1. c. p. 555. 
4 R. Torrens: "An Essay on the Production of Wealth." London, 1821, p. 349. 

14 0 

Caþz.ta!zst Productz'on. 

is only to say in other words: The o\vner of commodities po
sesses, as a seller, the privilege of selling too dear. The oeller 
has himself produced the commodities or represents their pro- 
ducer, but the buyer has to no less extent produced the com- 
modities represented by his money, or represents their pro- 
ducer. The distinction between them is, that one buys and 
the other sells. The fact that the owner of the commodities, 
under the designation of producer, sells them over their values 
and under the designation of consumer, pays too much for 
them, does not carry us a single step further. l 
To be consistent therefore, the upholders of the delusion that 
surplus-value has its origin in a nominal rise of prices or in the 
privilege which the seller has of selling too dear, must assume 
the existence of a class that only buys and does not sell, i.e., 
only consumes and does not produce. The existence of such a 
class is inexplicable from the standpoint we have so far reached, 
viz., that of simple circulation. But let us anticipate. The 
money with which such a class is constantly making purchases, 
must constantly flow into their pockets, without any exchange, 
gratis, by might or right, from the pockets of the commodity- 
owners themselves. To sell commodities above their value to 
.such a class, is only to crib back again a part of the money 
previously given to it.! The towns of Asia Minor thus paid a 
yearly money tribute to ancient Rome. With this money 
Rome purchased from them commodities, and purchased thelu 
too dear. The provincials cheated the Romans, and thus got 
back from their conquerors, in the course of trade, a portion of 
the tribute. Yet, for all that, the conquered were the really 
cheated. Their goods were still paid for with their o\vn money. 
That is not the ,yay to get rich or to create surplus-value. 
Let us therefore keep within the bounds of exchange where 

1 "The idea. of profits being paid by the consumers, i!, assuredly, very absurd. Who 
are the consumers?" (G. Ramsay: "An Essay on the Distribution of \Vealth. U Edin- 
burgh, 1836, p. 183.) 
2 "When a man is in wa.nt of a demand, does Mr. Malthus recommend him to pay 
some other person to take off his goods 1" is a question put by an angry disciple of 
Ricardo to Malthus, who, like his disciple, Parson Chalmers, economically glorifies 
this class of simple buyers or consumers. (See" An IXlquiry into those principles re- 
specting the Nature of Demand and the necessity of ùonsumption, lately advocated 
by Mr. l\1althus/' &c. Lond" 1821, p. 55.) 

ContrallictiOllS 'Ù" the FOrJJlu!a of Caþital. 14 1 

 are also buyers, and buyers, sellers. Our difficulty may 
perhaps have arisen from treating the actors as personifications 
instead of as individuals. 
A may be clever enough to get the advantage of B or C 
without their being able to retaliate. A sells ,vine worth æ40 
to B, and obtains from him in exchange corn to the value of 
.1:50. A has converted his .1:40 into .1:50, has made more money 
out of less, and has converted his commodities into capital. 
Let us examine this a little more closely. Before the exchange 
we had æ40 worth of wine in the hands of A, and f:50 worth 
of corn in those of B, a total value of .1:90. After the exchange 
,ve have still the same total value of æ90. The value in circula- 
tion has not increased by one iota, it is only distributed differ- 
ently between .d.. and B. What is a loss of value to B is surplus- 
value to A; what is CI minus" to one is (C plus" to the other. 
The same change would have taken place, if A, without the 
formality of an exchange, had directly stolen the .1:10 from B. 
The sum of the values in circulation can clearly not be aug- 
mented by any change in their distribution, any more than 
the quantity of the precious metals in a country by a J e,v 
selling a Queen Ann's farthing for a guinea. The capitalist 
class, as a whole, in any country, cannot over-reach themselves. 
Turn and twist then as we may, the fact remains unaltered. 
If equivalents are exchanged, no surplus-value results, and if 
non-equivalents are exchanged, still no surplus-value.' Circula- 
tion, or the exchange of commoditie
, begets no value.- 
I Destutt de Tracy, although, or perhapsi>ecause, he was a m
mber of the Inl!!titute, 
held the oppol!!ite view. He says, industrial capitalists make profits because U they 
all sell for more than it has cost to proùuce. And to whom do they sell? In the 
first instance to one another." (1. c., p. 23U.) 
2 " L'échange qui se fait de ùeux valeurs égale! n'augmente ni ne diminue la ma.sse 
des valeurs subsistantes dan! Ia Bociété. L'êcbange de deux valeurs inégales . . . 
ne change rien non plus à 180 somme des valeurs I!!ociales, bien qu'il ajoute à la fortune 
de l'uncequ'il ðte de lafortune de l'autre." (J. B. Say, 1. c. t. I., pp. 3-14, 345.) Say, 
not in the least troubled a! to the consequence
 of this statement, borrows it, almost 
word for word, from the Physiocrats. The following example will shew how :Monsieur 
Say turned to account the writings of the PhYBiocrats, in his day quite forgotten, for 
the purpose of expanding the" value" of his own. His most celebrated saying, "On 
n'achète des produits qu'avec des produits " (1. c., t. II., p. 438) runs as follows in 
the original physiocratic work: "Les productions ne se paient qu'avec des productionß." 
(" Le Trosne," 1. c., p. 899.) 
8 "Exchange confers no value at a.ll upon products." (F. Wayland: "The Elements. 
of Political Economy." Boston, 1853, p. 168.) 

14 2 

Caþitalist Production. 

The reason is now therefore plain why, in analysing the 
standard form of capital, the fonn under which it determines 
the economical organisation of modern society, we entireiy 
left out of consideration its most popular, and, so to say, ante- 
diluvian forms, merchants' capital and money-lenders' capital. 
The circuit M-C-M', buying in order to sell dearer, is seen 
most clearly in genuine merchants' capital. But the movement 
takes place entirely within the sphere of circu]ation. Since, 
however, it is impossible, by circulation alone, to account for 
the conversion of money into capital, for the formation of 
surplus-value, it would appear, that merchants' capital is an 
impossibility, 80 long as equivalent
 are exchanged;1 that, there- 
fore, it can only have its origin in the twofold advantage 
gained, over both the selling and the buying producers, by the 
merchant who parasitically shoves himself in between them. 
It is in this sense that Franklin says, "war is robbery, 
commerce is generally cheating.''2 If the transformation of 
merchants' money into capital is to be explained other,vise 
than by the producers being simply cheated, a long series of 
intermediate steps ,vouid be necessary, which, at present, when 
the simple circulation of commodities forms our onlyassump- 
tion, are entirely wanting. 
'Vhat we have said with reference to merchants' capital, 
applies still more to money-lenders' capital. In merchants' 
capital, the two extremes, the money that is thrown upon the 
market, and the augmented money that is withdrawn from the 
market, are at least connected by a purchase and a sale, in 
other ,vords by the movement of the circulation. In money- 
lenders' capital the form M-C-M' is reduced to the two ex- 
trelnes without a mean, M-M', money exchanged for more 
money, a form that is incompatible with the nature of money, 
and therefore remains inexplicable from the standpoint of the 
circulation of commodities. Hence Aristotle: "since chrema- 
1 Under the rule of invariable equivalents commerce would be impossible. (G. 
Opdyke: "A Treatise on Polito Economy." N ew York) 1851, p. 66-69.} "The difference 
between real value and exchange value is based upon this fact, namel}", that the 
value of a thing is different from the so-called equivalent given for it in trade, i.e., 
that this equivalent is no equivalent." (F. Engels, 1. c. p. 96.) 
.2 Benjamin Franklin: 'Yorks, Vol. II. edit. Sparks in "Positions to be examined 
concerning Kational "\Yealth," p. 376. 

Contradz"ctZ:01lS in the Formula of Caþital. 14J 

tistic is a double science, one part belonging to commerce, the 
other to economic, the latter being necessary and praiseworthy, 
the former based on circulation and with justice disapproved 
(for it is not based on Nature, but on mutual cheating), there- 
fore the usurer is most rightly hated, because money itself is 
the source of his gain, and is not used for the purposes for 
w'bich it was invented. 
For it originated for the exchange of 
commodities, but interest makes out of money, more money. 
Hence its name (<rÓ"ðl interest and off.':3pring). For the be- 
gotten are like those who beget them. But interest is money 
of money, so that of all modes of making a. living, this is the 
most contrary to nature.''], 
In the course of our investigation, we shall find that both 
merchants' capital and interest-bearing capital are derivative 
forms, and at the same time it will become clear, why these 
two forms appear in the course of history before tbe modern 
standard form of capital. 
"Te have shown that surplus-value cannot be created by 
circulation, and, therefore, that in its formation, sometbin
must take place in the background, which is not apparent in 
the circulation itself. 1 But can surplus-value possibly originate 
anywhere else than in circulation, which is the sum total of all 
the mutual relations of commodity-owners, as far as they are 
determined by their commodities? Apart from circulation, 
the commodity-owner is in relation only with his own com- 
modity. So far as regards value, that relation is limited to 
this, that the commodity contains a quantity of his own labour, 
that quantity being measured by a definite social 8tandard. 
This quantity is expressed by the value of the commodity, and 
since the value is reckoned in money of account, this quantity 
is also expressed by the price, which we will suppose to be 
But his labour is not represented both by the value of the 
commodity, and by a surplus over that value, not by a price of 
10 that is also a price of 11, not by a value that is greater than 
itself: The commodity owner can, by his labour, create value, 

1 Aristotle, 1. c. c. 10. 
2" Profit, in the usual condition of the ma.rket, is not made by excha.nging. Had 
it not existed before, neither could it after that tra.nsaction. JJ (Ramsay, 1. c. t p. 184. 


Caþitalist ProdzJ,ctio1Z. 

but not self-expanding value. He can increase the value of his 
eommodity, by adding fresh labour, and therefore more value- 
to the value in band, by making, for instance, leather into 
boots. The same material has now more value, because it 
contains a greater quantity of labour. The boots have there- 
fore more value than the leather, but the value of the leather 
remains ,vhat it was; it has not expanded itself, has not, 
during the making of the boots, annexed surplus value. It is 
therefore impossible that outside the sphere of circulation, a 
producer of commodities can, without coming into contact ,vith 
other commodity o',",'ners, expand value, and consequently con- 
vert money or commodities into capital. 
It is therefore impossible for capital to be produced by cir- 
culat.ion, and it is equally impossible for it to originate apart 
from circulation. It must have its origin both in circulation 
and yet not in circulation. 
'Ve have, therefore, got a double result. 
The conversion of money into capital has to be explained on 
the basis of the laws that regulate the exchange of commodities, 
in such a way that the starting point is the exchange of 
equivalents.! Our friend, Moneybags, who as yet is only an 
embryo capitalist, must buy his commodities at their value, 
must sell them at their value, 
nd yet at the end of the pro- 
cess must withdraw more value from circulation than he threw 

1 From the foregoing investigation, the reader will see that this statement only meane 
that the formation of capital must be possible even though the price and value of a 
commodity be the same; for its formation cannot be attributed to any deviation of 
the one from the other. If prices actually differ from values, we must, first of all, 
reduce the former to the laUer, in other words, treat the difference as. accidental in 
order that the phenomena may be observed in their purity, and our observations not 
interfered with by disturbing circumstances that have nothing to do with the process 
in question. We know, moreover, that this reduction is no mere scientific process. 
The continual oscillationl in prices, their rising and falling, compensate each other, 
'Jond reduce themselves to an &verage price, which is their hidden regulator. It forms 
the guiding star of the merchant or the manufacturer in every undertaking that re- 
quires time. He knows that when along period of time is taken, commodities are 
sold neither over nor under, but at their average price. If therefore he thought about 
the matter at all, he would formulate the problem of the formation of capital as 
follows: How can we account for the origin of capital on the supposition that prices 
are regulated by the &verage price, i.e., ultima.tely by the value of the commodities? 
1 Bay" ultimately," because a.verage prices do not directly coincide with the values of 
oommodities. as Adam Smith, Ricardo. and pt.hørs: be1i.we 

The Bu),i,zg and Selling oj Labour-Power. 145 

into it at starting. His development into a full-grown capl- 
talist must take place, both within the sphere of circulation 
and without it. These are the conditions of the problem. 
Hic Rhodus, hic salta ! 



THE change of value that occurs in the case of Inoney intended 
to Le converted into capital, cannot take place in the money 
itself, since in its function of means of purchase and of pay- 
ment, it does no more than realise the price of the commodity 
it buys or pays for; and, as hard cash, it is value petrified! 
never varying.
 J list as little can it originate in the secontl 
act of circulation, the re-sale of the commodity, which does 
no more than transform the article from its bodily form back 
again into its money-form. The change Juust, therefore, take 
place in the commodity bought by the first act, !I-C, but not 
in its value, for equivalents are exchanged, and the commodity 
is paid for at its full value. We are, therefore, forced to the 
conclusion that the change originates in the use-value, as such, 
of the commodity, i.e., in its consumption. In order to be able 
to extract value from the consumption of a commodity, our 
Ioneybags, must be 60 lucky as to find, within the 
sphere of circulation, in the market, a commodity, whose use- 
value possesses the peculiar property of being a source of 
value, whose actual consumption, therefore, is itself an em- 
bodiment of labour, and, consequently, a creation of value. 
The possessor of money does find on the market such a special 
commodity in capacity for labour or labour-power. 
By labour-power or capacity for labour is to be understood 
the aggregate of those mental and physi{'al capabilities exist- 
ing in a human being, which he exercises whenever he 
produces a use-value of any description. 
1 "In the form of l.:!.oney. . . . . capital is productive of no profit.. J (Ricardo 
, Princ. of Pol. Econ," t). 26,.) 


14 6 

Capitalist Product-ion. 

But in order that our owner of money may be able to find 
labour-power offered for sale as a commodity, various conditions 
must first be fulfilled. The exchange of commodities of itself 
implies no other relations of dependence than those which 
result from its own nature. On this assumption, labour-power 
can appear upon the market as a commodity, only if, and so 
far as, its possessor, the individual whose labour-power it is, 
offers it for sale, or sells it, as a commodity. In order that be 
may be able to do this, he must have it at his disposal, must 
be the untrammelled owner of his capacity for labour, i.e., of 
his per
on.l He and the owner of money meet in the market, 
and deal with each other as on the basis of equal rights, with 
this difference alone, that one is buyer, the other seller; Loth, 
therefore, equal- in the eyes of the law. The continuance of 
this relation demands that the owner of the labour-power 
should sen it only for a definite period, for if he were to sell it 
rump and stulnp, once for all, he would be selling himself, 
converting himself from a free man into a slave, from an owner 
of a commodity into a commodity. He must constantly look 
upon his labour-power as his own property, his own commodity, 
and this he can only do by placing it at the disposal of the buyer 
temporarily, for a definite period of time. By this means alon 
can he avoid renouncing his rights oî ownership over it. 2 
1 In encyclopædias of classical antiquities we find such nonsense as this-that in 
the ancient world capital was fully developed, " except that the free labourer and a 
system of credit was wanting." l\Iommsen allo, in hiB "History of Rome," commits, 
in this respect, one blunder after another. 
2 Hence legislation in various countries fixes & maximum for labour-contracts. 
Wherever free labour is the rule, the laws regulate the mode of terminating this con- 
tract. In some States, particularly in Mexico (before the American Civil 'Var, also in 
the territories taken from :Mexico, and also, as a matter of fact, in the Danubian 
provinces till the revolution effected by Kusa), slavery is hidden under the form of 
peonage. By means of advances, repayable in labour, which are handed down 
from generation to generation, not only the individual labourer, but his family, 
become, de facto, the property of other persons and their families. Juarez abolished 
peonage. The so-called Emperor l\Iaximiliall re-established it by a decree, which, in 
the House of Representatives at Washington, was aptly denounced as a decree for the 
re-introduction of slavery into Mexico. "I may make over to another the Uf
for a limited time, of my particular bodily and mental aptitudes and capabilities; 
because, in consequence of this restriction, they are impressed with a character of 
alienation with regard to me as a whole. But by the alienation of all my labour. 
time and the whole of my work, I should be converting the substance itself, in other 
words, my general activity and reality, my person, into the property of anothel 11 
(Hegel, " Philosophie des Rechts." Berlin, 18-10, p. 104 

The Buyz'ttg and Selling of Labour-Power. 147 

The second essential condition to the owner of money 
finding labour-power in thE market as a commodity is this- 
that the labourer instead of being in the position to sell COln- 
lllodities in which his labour is incorporated, must be obliged 
to offer for sale as a comlnodity that very labour-power, which 
exists only in his living self. 
In order that a man Inay be able to sell comlnodities other 
than labour-po,ver, be must of course have the means of 
production, as raw Inaterial, implements, &c. No boots can 
be made without leather. He requires also the means of 
subsistence. Nobody-not even" a Inu,;ician of the future "- 
can live upon future products, or upon use-values in an un- 
finished stat.e ; and ever since the first moment of his appearance 
on the world's stage, man ahvays has been, and must still be 
a consumer, both before and while he is producing. In a 
society ,vhere all products assume the form of commodities, 
these comn1odities must be sold after they have been produced; 
it is only after tlwir sale that they can serve in satisfying the 
requirelnents of their producer. The time necessary for their 
sale is superadded to that necessary for their production. 
For the conversion of his money into capital, therefore, the 
owner of money lllust meet in the market with the free 
labourer, free in the double sense, that as a free man he can 
dispose of his labour-po,ver as his own commodity, and tbat on 
the other band he has no other comlllodity for sale, is short 
of everything necessary for the realisation of his labour- 
The question \vhy this free labourer confronts hilli in the 
D1arket, has no interest for the o,vner of money, who regards 
the labour market as a branch of the general market for com- 
Inodities. And for the present it interests us just as little. 
'Ve cling to the fact theoretically, as he does practically. One 
thing, however, is c}ear-nature doe
 not produce on the one 
side owners of money or cOllllnodities, and on the other luen 
possessing nothing but their o,vn labour-po,ver. This relation 
ha-, no natural basis, neither is its social ba
is one that is 
connYlon to all historical periods. It is clearly the result of a 
})t1st historical development, the product of lllany economical 

14 8 

Caþltatlst Productzon. 

revolutions, of the extinction of a whole series of o]der forms- 
of social production. 
So, too, the economical categories, already discussed by us, 
bear the stamp of history. Definite historical conditions are 
necessary that a product may become a commodity. It must 
not be produced as the immediate means of subsistence of the 
producer himself. Had we gone further, and inquired under 
what circumstances all, or even the majority of products take 
the form of commodities, we should have found that this can 
only happen with production of a very specific kind, capitalist 
production. Such an inquiry, however, would have. been 
foreign to the analysis of commodities. Production and 
circulation of comn10dities can take place, although the great 
mass of the objects produced are intended for the immediate 
requirements of their producers, are not turned into cornmodi- 
ties, and consequently social production is not yet by a long 
way dominated in its length and breadth by exchange-value. 
The appearance of products as cOlllmodities presupposes such a. 
development of the social division of labour, that the separation 
of use-value from exchange-value, a separation which first 
begins with barter, must already have been completed. But 
such a degree of development is com III on to many forms of 
society, ,vhich in other respects present the most varying 
historical features. On the other hand, if we consider money, 
its existence implies a definite stage in the exchange of 
commodities. The particular functions of money which it 
performs, either as the mere equivalent of commodities, or a.
means of circulation, or means of payment, as hoard or as 
universal money, point, according to the extent and relative 
preponderance of the one function or the other, to very 
different stages in the process of social production. Yet we 
know by experience that a circulation of commodities relati vely 
primitive, suffices for the production of all these forms. Other- 
wise with capital. The historical conditions of its existence 
are by no means given with the mere circulation of money and 
comlllodities. It can spring into life, only when the owner of 
the means of production and subsistence meets in the 111arket 
with the free labourer selling his labour-po,ver. And this one 

The BUY'Í1tg a1zd Selling of Labour-Power. 149 

hi')torical condition comprises.a world's history. Capital, 
therefore, announces froln its first appearance a new epoch in 
the process of social production. 1 
'Ve must now examine more closely this peculiar cOJnmodity, 
labour-power. Like all others it has a value. 2 How is that 
value detennined ? . 
The value of labour-power is determined, as in the case of 
every other commodity, by the labour-time necessary for the 
production, and consequently also the reproduction, of this 
special article. So far as it has value, it represents no more 
than a definite quantity of the average labour of society 
incorporated in it. exists only as a capacity, or 
power of the living individual Its production consequently 
presupposes his existence. Given the individual, the produc.. 
tion of labour-power consists in bis reproduction of himself or 
his ll1aintenance. For his Inaintenance he requires a given 
quantity of the means of subsistence. Therefore the labour- 
time requisite for the production of labour-power reduces it')elf 
to that necessary for the production of those means of 
subsistence; in other words, the value of labour-power is the 
value of the means of subsibtence necessary for the mainten- 
ance of the labourer. L2 bour-power, however, becomes a 
reality only by its exercise; it sets itself in action only by 
working. But thereby a definite quantity of human muscle, 
nerve, brain, &c., is wasted, and these l
equire to be restored. 
This increased expenditure demands a larger income. 8 If the 
<)\vner of labour-power works to-day, to-morrow he must again 
be able to repeat the same process in the same conditions as 
regards health and strength. His means of subsistence must 
therefore be sufficient to maintain him in his normal state as 

1 The capitalist epoch is therefore characterised by this, that labour-power takes 
in the eyes of the labourer himself the form of a. commodity which is his property; 
his labour consequently becomes wage labour. On the other hand, it is only from 
this moment that the produce of labour universally becomes a commodity. 
2 "The value or worth of a man, is as of all other things his price-that iR to say, 
-so much as would be given for the use of his power." (Th. Hobbes: "Leviathan" in 
Works, Ed. :Molesworth. Lond. 1839-44, v. iii., p. 76.) 
3 Hence the Roman Villicus, as overlooker of the agricultural slaves, received 
-4:' more meagre fare than working slaves, because his work was lighter." (Th.. 
lIIommsen Rörn. Geschichte, 1856, p. 810.) 

15 0 

Caþztalist Production. 

a labouring individual. His natural wants, such as food r 
clothing, fuel, and housing, vary according to the c]imatic and 
other physical conditions of his country. On the other hand, 
the number and extent of his so-called necessary wants, as also 
the modes of satisfying them, are themselveR the product of 
historical development, and depend therefore to a great extent 
on the degree of civilisation of a country, more particularly on 
the conditions under which, and consequently on the habits and 
degree of comfort in which, the class of free labourers has been 
formed. 1 In contradistinction therefore to the case of other 
commodities, there enters into the determination of the value 
of labour-power a historical and moral element. Nevertheless, 
in a given country, at a given period, the average quantity of 
the means of subsistence necessary for the labourer is 
practically known. 
The owner of labour-power is mortal. If then his appear- 
ance in the market is to be continuous, and the continuous con- 
version of money into capital assumes this, the seller of labour- 
power must perpetuate himself: "in the way that every living 
individual perpetuates himself, by procreation."
 The labour- 
wer withdrawn from the market by wear and tear and 
death, must be continually replaced by, at the very least, an 
equal amount of fresh labour-power. Hence the sum of the 
Ineans of subsistence necessary for the production of labour- 
power must include the means necessary for the labourer's 
substitutes, i.e., his children, in order that this race of peculiar 
commodity-owners may perpetuate its appearance in the 
In order to modify the human organism, so that it mayac- 
quire skill and handiness in a given branch of industry, and 
become labour-power of a special kind, a special education or 
training is requisite, and this, on its part, costs an equivalent 
1 Oompare w. H. Thornton: "Overpopulation and its Remedy," Lond., 1846. 
i Petty. 
, U Its (labour's) natural price. . . . consists in such a quantity of necessaries 
and comforts of life, as, from the nature of the climate, and the habits of the coun- 
try, are necessary to support the labourer, and to enable him to rear such a family 
as may preserve, in the ma.rket, an undiminiRhed supply of labour." (R. Torrens: 
U An Essay on the external Corn Trade." Lond., 1815, p. 62.) The word lab(\ur i. 
here wrongly used for labour-power. 

The Buying and SeIIÙ
f{ of Labour-Po'lfJer. 151 

in commodities of a greater or less amount. This amount 
varies according to the more or less complicated character of 
the labour-power. The expenses of this education (excessively 
small in the case of ordinary labour-power), enter pro tanto 
into the total value sper
t in its production. 
The value of labour-power resolves itself into the value of a 
definite quantity of the means of subsistence. It therefore 
varies with the value of these means or ,vith the quantity of 
labour requisite for their production. 
Some of the means of subsistence, such a'3 food and fuel, are 
consumed daily, and a fresh supply must be provided 
daily. Others such as clothes and furniture last for 
longer periods and require to be replaced only at longer in- 
tervals. One article must be bought or paid for daily, another 
weekly, another quarterly, and so on. But in whatever way 
the sum total of these outlays may be spread over the year, 
they must be covered by the average income, taking one day 
with another. If the totaJ of the commodities required daily 
for the production of labour-power=A, and those required 
weekly= B, and those required quarterly=C, and so on, the 
daily average of these COllllllodities = 36ðA+ð2
 4C+&o. Suppose 
that in this of commodities requisite for the a.verage day 
there are embodied 6 hours of sociallaboul', then there is incor- 
porated daily in labour-power half a day's average social labour, 
in other words, half a day's labour is requisite for the daily 
production of labour-po,ver. This quantity of labour forms 
the value of a day's labour-power or the value of the labour- 
power daily reproduced. If half a day's average social labour is 
incorporated in three shillings, then three shillings is the price 
corresponding to the value of a day's labour-power. If its 
owner therefore offers it for sale at three shillings a day, its 
selling price is equal to its value, and according to our su p- 
position, our friend Moneybags, who is intent upon converting 
his three shillings into capital, pays this value. 
The minimum limit of the value of labour-po,ver is de- 
termined by the value of the commodities, without the daily 
supply of which the labourer cannot renew his vital energy, 
consequently by the value of those means of subsistence that 

15 2 

Caþ'italzst Productz.on. 

are physically indispensable. If the price of labour-power fall 
to this minimulu, it falls below its value, since under such cir- 
cumstances it can be maintained and developed only in a 
crippled state. But the value of every commodity is deter- 
mined by the labour-time requisite to turn it out so as to be of 
normal quality. 
It is a very cheap sort of sentimentality which declares this 
luethod of determining the value of labour-power, a method 
prescribed by the very nature of the case, to be a brutal 
method, and which wails with Rossi that, "To comprehend 
capacity for labour (puissance de travail) at the same time 
that we make abstraction from the means of subsistence of the 
labourers during the process of production, is to comprehend a 
phantom (être de raison). When we speak of labour, or 
capacity for labour, we speak at the same time of the labourer 
and his means of subsistence, of labourer and wages."l When 
"re speak of capacity for labour, we do not speak of labour, any 
lllore than when we speak of capacity for digestion, we speak 
of digestion. The latter process requires something more than 
a good stomach. '\Then we speak of capacity for labour, we do 
not abstract from the necessary means of subsistence. On the 
contrary, their value is expressed in its value. If his capacity 
for ]abour remains unsold, the labourer derives no benent from 
it, but rather he will feel it to be a cruel nature-imposed 
necessity that this capacity has cost for its production a de- 
finite amount of the means of subsistence and that it will con- 
tinue to do so for its reproduction. He will then agree with 
Sismondi: "that capacity for labour. . . . is nothing unless it 
is sold.''2 
One consequence of the peculiar nature of la bour- power as a 
commodity is, that its use-value does not, on the conclusion of 
the contract between the buyer and seller, immediately pass 
into the hands of the former. Its value, like that of every 
other commodity, is already fixed before it goes into circula- 
tion, since a definite quantity of social labour has been spent 
upon it; but its use-value consists in the subsequent exercise of 

1 Rossi. "Cours d'Econ. Polit : " Bruxelles, 1842, p. 370. 
2 Sismondi: "N ou v. Princ. etc," t. I. p. 112. 

The Buyill,g and Selli1tg of Labour-Power. 153 

its force. The alienation of labour-power and its actual appro- 
priation by the buyer, its emploYluent as a use-value, are 

eparatecl by an interval of tilne. But in those cases in which 
the forlnal alienation by sale of the use-value of a commodity, is 
not sin1ultaneous with its actual delivery to the buyer, the 
Illoneyof the latter usually functions as means of payment. 1 
In every country in which the capitalist mode of production 
reigns, it is the custom not to pay for labour-power before it 
has been exercised for the period fixed by the contract, as for 
example, the end of each week. In all cases, therefore, the use- 
value of the labour-power is advanced to the capitalist: the 
labourer allows the buyer to conSUIlle it before he receives pay- 
ment of the price; he everywhere gives credit to the 
capitalist. That this credit is no mere fiction, is sho\vn not 
only by the occasional loss of wages on the bankruptcy of the 
capitalist, 2 but also by a series of more enduring conse- 
quences. s Nevertheless, whether money serves as a means of 
1 ".All labour is paid after it has ceased." (" An Inquiry into those Principles re- 
specting the Nature of Demand," &c., p. 104.) "Le crédit commercial a dû cornrn('noer 
au moment où l'ouvrier, premier artisan de 180 production, a pu, au moyen de ses 
économies, attendre Ie Balaire de son travail jusqu, à la fin de la scmaine, de la 
.}uinzaine, du mois, du trimei5tre, &c. (Ch. Ganilh: "Des Systèmes de l'ECOll. Polit." 
2éme. edit. Paris, 1821, t. I. p. 150.) 
2 "L ouvrier prête son industrie," but adds Storch slyly: he U risks nothing" ex- 
cept "de perdre son salaire . . . . l'ouvrier ne transmet rien de materiel" 
(Storch: "Cours d'Econ. Polito Econ." Pétersbourg, 1815, t. II., p., 37.) 
3 One example. In London there are two sorts of bakers, the "full priced," who 
sell bread at its full value, and the "undersellers," who sell it under its value. The 
latter class compril:;es more than three-fourths of the total number of bakers. (p. 
xxxii in the Report of H. S. Tremenheere, commissioner to examine into "the griev- 
ances complained of by the journeymen bakers," &c., Lond. 1862.) The undersellers, 
almost without exception, sell bread adulterated with alum, soap, pearl ashes, chalk. 
Derbyshire stone-dust, and such like agreeable nourishing and wholesome ingredients. 
(See the above cited blue book, as also the report of "the committee of 1855 on the 
adulteration of bread," and Dr Hassall's "Adulterations detected," 2nd Ed. Lond. 
1862.) Sir John Gordon stated before the committee of 1855, that "in consequence 
of these adulterations, the poor man, who lives on two poundH of bread a day, does 
not now get one fourth part of nourishing matter, let alone the deleterious effects on 
his health." Tremenheere states (I. c. p. xlviii), as the reason, why a very large part 
of the working class, although well aware of this adulteration, nevertheless accep' 
the alum, stone-dust, &c., as part of their purchase: that it is for them U a matter of 
necessity to take from their baker or from the chandler's shop, such bread as they 
.choose to supply." As they are not paid their wages before the end of the week. 
they in their turn are unable " to pay for the bread consumed by their families, dur- 
.ing the week, before the end of the week," and Tremenheere adds on the evidenoe of 
-witnesses, "it is notorious that bread composed of those mixtures, is made expressly 


Caþitalist Production. 

purchase or as a means of payment, this makes no alteration in 
the nature of the exchange of commodities. The price of the 
labour-power is fixed by the contract, although it is not 
realised till later, like the rent of a house. The labour-power is- 
sold, although it is only paid for at a later period. It will" 
therefore, be useful, for a clear comprehension of the relation 
of the parties, to assume provisionally, that the possessor of 
labour-power, on the occasion of each sale, immediately re- 
ceives the price stipulated to be paid for it. 
We now know how the value paid by the purchaser to the- 
possessor of this peculiar commodity, labour-power, is de- 
termined. The use-value which the former gets in exchange,. 
manifests itself only in the actual usufruct, in the consump- 
tion of the labour-power. The money owner buys every- 
thing necessary for this purpose, such as raw material, in the 
market, and pays for it at its full value. The consumption of 
labour-power is at one and the same time the production of 
commodities and of surplus value. The consumption of labour- 
power is completed, as in the case of every other commodity, 
outside the limits of the market or of the sphere of circulation. 
Accompanied by Mr. Moneybags and by the possessor of labour- 
power, we therefore take leave for a time of this noisy sphere
where everything takes place on the surface and in view of all 
men, and follow them both into the hidden abode of production

for sale in this manner." In many English and still more Scotch agricultural dis- 
trict!!!, wages are paid fortnightly and even monthly; with such long intervals between.. 
the payments, the agricultural labourer i
 ohliged to buy on credit. . . . He 
must pay higher prices, and is in fact tied to the shop which gives him credit. Thus. 
at Horningham in Wilts, for example, where the wages are monthly, the same flour 
that he could buy elsewhere at 18 10d per stone, costs him 2s 4d per stone. (" Sixth 
Report" on" Public Health" by "The Medical Officer of the Privy Council. 
&c., 1864." p. 264.) "The block printers of Paisley and Kilmarnock enforced, hy 
80 strike, fortnightly, instead of monthly pa
"ment of wages." (" Reports of the In- 
spectors of Fa.ctori
s for 31st Oct., 1853," p. 34). As a further pretty result of the 
<<edit given by the workmen to the capitalist, we may refer to the method current in 
many English coal mines, where the labourer is not paid till the end of the month,. 
and in the meantime, receives sums on account from the capitalist, often in goods for 
which the miner is obliged to pay more than the market price (Truck-system.) "It is 
a common practice with the coal masters to pay once a month, and advance cash to 
their workmen at the end of each intermediate week. The ca
h is given in the shop" 
(i.e., the Tommy shop which belongs to the master); "the men take it 011 one side 
and lay it out on the other." (" Children's Employment Commission, III. Report,'" 
Lond. 1864, p. 38, D. 192.) 

The Buyi1Zg and Selllng of Labour-Power. 155 

on whose threshold there stares us in the face " No adn1Ïttance 
except on business." Here we shall see, not only how capita] 
produces, but ho\v capital is produced. 'Ve shall at last force 
the secret of profit making. 
This sphere that we are deserting, within whose boundaries 
the sale and purchase of labour-po\ver goes on, is in fact a very 
Eden of the innate rights of man. There alone rule Freedom, 
Equality, Property and Bentham. Freedom, because both buyer 
and seller of a commodity, say of labour-power, are constrained 
only by their own free will. They contract as free agents, and 
the agreement they come to, is but the fonn in which they give 
legal expression to their common will. Equality, because each 
enters iGto relation with the other, as with a simple owner of 
commodities, and they exchange equivalent for equiva]ent. 
Property, because each disposes only of what is his own. And 
Bentham, because each looks only to himself. 'rhe only force 
that brings them together and puts them in relation with each 
other, is the selfishness, the gain and the private interests of 
each. Each looks to himself only, and no one troubles himself 
about the rest, and just because they do so, do they all, in 
accordance with the pre-established harmony of things, or 
under the auspices of an all-shrewd providence, work together 
to their mutual advantage, for the common weal and in the 
interest of all. 
On leaving this sphere of simple circulation or of exchange 
of commodities, which furnishes the "Free-trader Vulgaris JJ 
with his views and ideas, and with the standard by which he 
judges a society based on capital and wages, we think we can 
perceive a change in the physiognomy of our dramatis personæ. 
He, who before was the money owner, now strides in front as 
capit.alist; the possessor of labour-power follows as his lanourer. 
The one with an air of importance, smirking, intent on business; 
the other, timid and holding back, like one who is bringing his 
own hide to market and has nothing to expect but-a hiding. 








THE capitalist buys labour-power in order to use it; and labour- 
power in use is labour itself. The purchaser of labour-power con- 
Burnes it by setting the seller of it to ,york. By working, the 
latter becomes actually, what before he only was potentially, 
labour-power in action, a labourer. In orller that his labour may 
reappear in a commodity, he must, before all things, expend it 
on something useful, on something capable of satisfying a 
want of some sort. Hence, what the capitalist sets the lab- 
ourer to produce, is a particular use-value, a specified article. 
Tbe fact that the production of use-values, or goods, is carried 
on under the control of a capitalist and on his behalf, does not 
alter the general character of that production. We shaH, 
therefore, in the first place, have to consider the labour-process 
independently of the particular form it assumes under given 
social conditions. 
Labour is, in the first place, a process in which both man 
and Nature participate, and in ,vhich man of his own accord 
starts, regulates, and controls the material re-actions between 
himself and Nature. He opposes himself to Nature as one of 
hpr own forces, in motion arms and legs, head and 

1Ïte Labour Process. 


hands, the natural forces of his body, in order to appropriate 
Nature's productions in a form adapted to his own wants. By 
thus acting on the external world and changing it, he at the 
same time changes his own nature. He develops his slunlber- 
ing powers and compels them to act in obedience to his s,vay. 
'Ve are not now dealing with those primitive instinctive formB 
of labour that remind us of the mere animal. An immeasur- 
able interval of time separates the state of things in which a 
lnan brings his labour-power to market for sale as a comnlodity, 
from that state in which human labour was stiH in its first in- 
stinctive stage. We presuppose labour in a form that stamps 
it as exclusively human. A spider conducts operations that 
resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shan1e many an 
architect in the construction of her cells. But \vhat distin- 
guisheR the worst architect from the best of bees i
 this, that 
the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects 
it in reality. At the end of every labour-process, we get a re- 
sult that already existed in the imagination of the labourer at 
its commencement. He not only effects a change of form in 
the material on which he works, but he also realises a purpose 
of his own that gives the law to his modus operandi, and to 
which he must subordinate his will. And this subordination 
is no mere momentary act. Besides the exertion of the bodily 
organs, the process demands that, during the whole operation, 
the workman's will be steadily in consonance with his purpose. 
This means close attention. The less he is attracted by the 
nature of the work, and the mode in which it is carried on, 
and the less, therefore, he enjoys it as something ,vhich gives 
play to his bodily and mental powers, the more close his atten- 
tion is forced to be. 
'fhe elementary factors of the labour-process are l,the personal 
activity of man, i.e., work itself, 2, the subject of that work, 
and 3, its instruments. 
The soil (and this, economically speaking, includes water) in 
the virgin state in which it supplies 1 man with necessaries or 
1 "The earth's spontaneous productions being in small quantity, a.nd quite indepen- 
dent of man, appear, as it were, to be furnished by Nature, in the same way as a small 
sum is given to a young man, in order to put him in a way of industry, a.nd of mak- 
ing his fortune." (James Steuart: "Principles of Polito Econ." edit. Dublin, 1770, 

. I. p. 116). 

15 8 

Caþitalist Production. 

the means of subsistence ready to hand, exists independently 
of him, and is the universal subject of human labour. All 
those things which labour merely separates from immediate 
connection with their environment, are subjects of labour 
spontaneously provided by Nature. Such are fish which we 
catch and take from their element, water, timber which 'we 
fell in the virgin forest, and ores which we extract from their 
veins. If, on the other hand, the subject of labour has, so to 
say, been filtered through previous labour, we call it raw 
material; such is ore already extracted and ready for wash- 
ing. All raw material is the subject of labour, but not every 
subject of labour is raw material; it can only become so, after 
it has undergone sorne alteration by means of labour. 
An instrument of labour is a thing, or a complex of things, 
,vhich the labourer interposes between himself and the subject 
of his labour, and which serves as the conductor of his activity. 
He makes use of the mechanical, physical, and chemical pro- 
perties of some substances in order to make other sub
subservient to his aims. l Leaving out of consideration such 
ready-made means of subsistence as fruits, in gathering which 
a man's own limbs serve as the instruments of his labour, the 
fir::;t thing of which the labourer possesses himself is not the 
subject of labour but its instrument. Thus Nature becomes one 
of the organs of his activity, one that he annexes to his own 
bødily organs, adding stature to himself in spite of the Bible. 
As the earth is his original larder, so too it is his original tool 
house. It supplies him, for instance, with stones for throwing, 
grinding, pressing, cutting, &c. The earth itself is an instru- 
ment of labour, but when used as such in agriculture inlplies a 
,vhole series of other instruments and a comparatively high 
development of labour. 2 No sooner does labour undergo the 

1 "Reason is just as cunning as she is powerful. Her cunning consists principally in 
her mediating activity, which, by causing objects to act and re-act on each other in 
accordance with their own nature, in this way, without any direct interference in the 
l)rocess, carries out reason's intentions." (Hegel:" Encyklopädie, Erster Theil. Die 
Logik. " Berlin, 1840, p. 382.) 
2 In his otherwise miserable work, (" Théorie de PEcon. Polit." Paris, 1819), 
Ganilh enumerates in a striking manner in opposition to the "Physiocrats" the long 
f3cries of previous l)roccsses necessary before agriculture properly so called can com- 

The Labour Process. 


least development, than it requires specially pre-pared instru- 
ments. Thus in the oldest caves ,ve find stone impleInents and 
weapons. In the earliest period of human history domesticated 
animals, i.e., animals which have been bred for the purpose, and 
have unùergone moJifications by means of labour, play the 
chief part as instruments of labour along ,vith specially pre- 
pared stones, wood, bones, and shells. 1 The use and fabrication 
of instruments of labour, although existing in the germ among 
certain species of animals, is specificaHy characteristic of the 
human labour-process, and Franklin therefore detines Ulan as a 
tool-making animal. Relics of by-gone instruments of laLour 
possess the same importance for the inve
tigation of extinct 
economical forms of society, as do fossil bones for the determina- 
tion of extinct species of animals. It is not the articles made, 
but how they are made, and by what instruments, that enables 
us to distinguish different economical epochs. 1 Instruments of 
labour not only supply a standard of the degree of develop- 
ment to ,vhich human labour has attained, but they are also 
indicators of the social conditions under which that labour is 
can'ied on. Among the instruments of labour, tho8e of a 
luechanical nature, which, taken as a whole, we nlay call the 
boue and muscles of production, offer much more deciùed 
characteristics of a given epoch of production, than those which, 
like pipes, tubs, baskets, jars, &c., serve only to holJ the 
materials for labour, which latter class, ,ve Dlay in a general 
way, call the vascular systeln of production. The latter first 
Legins to play an important part in the chemical industries. 
In a wider sense we may include among the instrunlents of 
labour, in addition to those things that are used for directly 
transferring labour to its subject, and which therefore, in one 
1 Turgot in his "Refiexions sur 1J. Formation et Is. Distribution ùes Richef;ses " 
(1766) brings well into prominence the importance of domesticated a.nimals to early 
2 The least important commodities of all for the technological comparison of 
different epochs of production are articles of luxury, in the strict meaning of the term. 
However little our written histories up to this time notice the development of material 
})roduction, which is the basis of all social life, and therefore of all real history, yet 
pr<'historic times have been cla&.ified in accordance with the results, not of so called 
Listorical, but of mate1'Ïa1istic investigations. These periods have been divided, to 
correspond with the materials from which their implements and weapons were made, 
viz., into the stone, the bronze, and the iron ages. 


Caþitalist Production. 

way or another, serve as conductors of activity, all such objects 
as are necessary for carrying on the labour-process. 1'hese do- 
not enter directly into the process, but without them it is either 
impossible for it to take place at all, or possible only to a 
partial extent. Once more we find the earth to be a universal 
instrument of this sort, for it furnishes a locus standi to the 
labourer and a field of employment for his activity. Among 
instruments that are the result of previous labour and also 
belong to this class, ,ve find workshops, canals, roads, and so 
In the labour-process, therefore, man's activity, with the help 
of the instruments of labour, effects an alteration, designed from 
the commencement, in the material worked upon. The process 
disappears in the product; the latter is a use-value, Nature's 
material adapted by a change of form to the wants of man. 
Labour has incorporated itself with its subject: the former is 
materialised, the latter transformed. That ,vhich in the labourer 
a ppeared as movement, no,v appears in the product as a fixed 
quality without motion. The blacksmith forges and the pro. 
duct is a forging. 
If we examine the whole process from the point of vie\v of 
its result, the product, it is plain that both the instrurnents and 
the subject of labour, are means of production,l and that the 
labour itself is productive labour.' 
Though a use-value, in the form of a product, issues from 
the labour-process, yet other use-values, products of previous 
labour, enter into it as means of production. The same use- 
'Talue is both the product of a previous process, and a means of 
production in a later process. Products are therefore not only 
results, but also essential conditions of labour. 
With the exception of the extractive industries, in which 
the material for labour is provided immediately by nature, 
such as mining, hunting, fishing, and agriculture (so far as the 

1 It appears paradoxical to assert, that uncaught fish, for instance, are a mealli! of 
production in the fishing industry. But hitherto no one has discovered the art of 
catching fish in waters that contain none. 
t This method of determining from the standpoint of the labour-process alone, what 
is productive labour, is by no means directly applicable to the case of the capitalist 
far less of uroùuction. 

The Labour Process. 


latter is confined to breaking up virgin soil), all branches of 
industry manipulate ra\v nlaterial, objects already filtered 
through labour, already products of labour. Such is seed in 
19riculture. Animals and plants, which we are accustomed to 
consider as products of nature, are in their present form, not 
vdly products of, say last year's labour, but the result of a 
gradnal transformation, continued through many generations, 
nnner man's superintendence, ancl by mpans of his labour. 
But in the great majority of case::;, instruments of labour show 
even to the most superficial observer, traces of the labour of 
past ages. 
Raw n1aterial may eit.her form the principal substance of a 
product, or it may enteL into its formation only as an acces- 
sory. An accessory may be consumed by the instruments of 
labour, as coal under a boiler, oil by a wheel, hay by draft- 
horses, or it may be mixed with the raw material in order to 
produce some modification thereof: as chlorine into unbleached 
linen, coal with iron, dye-stuff with wool, or again, it may help 
to carryon the work itself, as in the case of the materials used 
for heating and lighting workshops. The distinction between 
principal substance and accessory vanishes in the true chemical 
industries, because there none of the raw material reappears, in 
its original composition, in the substance of the product. 1 
Every object possesses various properties, and is thus capable 
of being applied to different uses. One and the same product 
may therefore serve as raw material in very different processes. 
Corn, for example, is a raw material for millers, starch-manu- 
facturers, distillers, and cattle-breeders. It also enters as raw 
material into its own production in the shape of seed: coal, too, 
is at the saIne time the product of, and a means of production 
in, coal-mining. 
Again, a particular product may be used in one and the same 
proceHH, both as an instrument of labour and as raw material. 
Take, for in
tance, the fattening of cattle, where the animal is 
the raw material, and at the same time an instrument for the 
production of manurf'. 

1 Storch calls true raw ma " ma.tières," and accessory materia.l "matériaux: Þ 
Cherbulicz describes accessories 
 .f ma.tières instr\1menta.les." J 


Caþitalist Productz.on. 

Å product, though ready for immediate consumptíon, may 
yet serve as raw material for a further product, as grapes when 
they become the raw material for wine. On the other hand, 
labour may give us its product in such a form, that we can use 
it only as raw material, as is the case with cotton, thread, and 
yarn. Such a raw material, though itself a product, may have 
to go through a whole series of different processes: in each of 
these in turn, it serves, with constantly varying form, as raw 
material, until the last process of the series leaves it a perfect 
product, ready for individual consumption, or for use as an in- 
strument of labour. 
Hence we see, that whether a use-value is to be regarded as 
raw material, as instrument of labour, or as product, this is deter- 
mined entirely by its function in the labour process, by the 
position it there occupies: as this varies, so does its character. 
Whenever therefore a product enters as a means of produc- 
tion into a new labour-process, it thereby loses its character of 
product, and becomes a mere factor in the process. A spinner 
treats spindles only as implements for spinning, and flax only 
as the material that he spins. Of course it is impossible to spin 
without material and spindles; and therefore the :existence of 
these things as products, at the commencement of the spinning 
operation, must be presumed: but in the process itse]f, the fact 
that they are products of previous labour, is a matter of utter 
indifference; just as in the digestive process, it is of no impor- 
tance whatever, that bread is the produce of the previous 
labour of the farmer, the miller, and the baker. On the con- 
trary, it is generally by their imperfections as products, that 
the means of production in any process assert themselves in 
their character of products. A blunt knife or weak thread 
f.orcibly remind us of 111'. A., the cutler, or Mr. B., the spinner. 
In the finished product the labour by means of which it has 
acquired its useful qualities is not palpable, has apparentl
A machine which does not serve the purposes of labour) is 
useless. In addition, it falls a prey to the destructive influence 
of natural forces. Iron rusts and wood rots. Yarn with which 
we neither weave nor knit, is cotton wasted. Living lab01u 

The Labour Process. 


,must seize upon these things and rouse them from their death- 
-sleep, change them from mere possible use-values into real 
and effective ones. Bathed in the fire of labour, appropriated 
.as part and parcel of labour's organism, and, as it were, made 
alive for the performance of their functions in the process, they 
are in truth consumed, but consumed with a purpose, as 
elementary constituents of new use-values, of new products, 
-ever ready as means of subsistence for individual consumption, 
or as nleans of production for some ne\v labour-process. 
If then, on the one hand, finished products are not only 
results, but also nec
ssary conditions, of the labour-process, on 
the other hand, their assunlption into that process, their contact 
'\vith living labour, is the sole means by which they can be 
made to retain their character of use-values, and be utilised. 
Labour uSßS up its material factors, its subject and its 
instruments, consumes them, and is therefore a process of con- 
SUlllption. Such productive consumption is distinguished 
from individual consumption by this, that the latter uses up 
products, as means of subsistence for the living individual; the 
fOl'lller, as means ,vhereby alone, labour, the labour-power of 
the living individual, is enabled to act. The product, therefore, 
of individual consumption, is the consumer himself; the result 
.()f productive consulllptioll, is a product distinct from the con- 
In so far then, as its instrunlents and subjects are themselves 
products, labour consumes products in order to create products, 
or in other \vords, consunles one set of products by turning 
-them into means of production for another set. But, just as in 
the beginning, the only participators in the labour-proceHs 
,vere man and the earth. which latter exists independently of 
Ilian, so even no, v we still employ in the process many means 
'of production, provided directly by nature, that do not represent 
any con1bination of natural substances with hUlnan labour. 
The labour process, resolved as above into its simple 
elelnentary factors, is human action with a view to the pro- 
duction of use-values, appropriation of natural substances to 
human requirements; it is the necessary condition for effecting 
-exchange of matter between n1an and 
 ature; it is tlte ever- 

16 4 

Caþztalist Production. 

lasting nature-imposed condition of human existence, and 
therefore is independent of every social phase of that existence. 
or rather, is common to every such phase. It was, therefore" 
not necessary to represent our labourer in connexion with 
other labourers; man and his labour on one side, Nature and 
its materials on the other, sufficed. As the taste of the porridge 
does not tell you who grew the oats, no more does this simple- 
process tell you of itself what are the social conditions under 
,vhich it is taking place, whether under the slave-owner's 
brutal lash, or the anxious eye of the capitalist, whether 
Cincinnatus carries it on in tilling his modest farm or a savage- 
in killing wild animals with stones.! 
LeL us now return to our would-be capitalist. We left him 
just after he had purchased, in the open market, all the necessary 
factors of the labour-process; its objective factors, the means of 
production, as well as its subjective factor, labour-power. 
With the keen eye of an expert, he has selected the means of 
production and the kind of labour-power best adapted to his 
particular trade, be it spinning, bootmaking, or any other kind. 
He then proceeds to consume the commodity, the labour-power 
that he has just bought, by causing the labourer, the impersona- 
tion of that labour-power, to consume the means of production 
by his labour. The general character of the la bour- process is 
evidently not changed by the fact, that the labourer works for 
the capitalist instead of for himself; moreover, the particular 
methods and operations employed in bootmaking or spinning 
are not immediately changed by the intervention of the 
capitalist. He must begin by taking the labour-power as he- 
finds it in the market, and consequently be satisfied with 
labour of such a. kind as would be found in the period 
Î1nmediately preceding the rise of capitalists. Changes in the 
methods of production by the subordination of labour to 
capital, can take place only at a later period, and therefore 
"\vill have to be treated of in a later chapter. 
1 By So wonderful feat of logical acumen, Colonel Torrens has discovered, in this 
stone of the savage the origin of capital. "In the first stone which he [the savageJ 
ßings at the wild animal he pursues, in the first stick that he seizes to strike ùown 
the fruit which hangs above his reach, we see the appropriation of one article for the 
purpose of aiding in the acquisition of another, and thus discover the origin of 
capital. (R. TorreIJS: "An Essay on the Prolluction of 'Y calth," &c., pp. 70-71.) 

The Labour Process. 

16 5 

The labour-process, turned into the process by which the 
capitalist consumes labour-power, exhibits two characteristic 
phenomena. First, the labourer ,yorks under the control of 
the capitalist to whom his labour belongs; the capitalist taking 
good care that the ,york is done in a proper manner, and that 
the means of production are uHed "\vith intellig3nce, so that 
there is no unnecessary waste of ra\v material, and no "\vear and 
tear of the implements beyond ,vhat is necessarily caused by 
the work. 
Secondly, the product is the property of the capitalist and 
not that of the labourer, its immediate producer. Suppose 
that a capitalist pays for a day's labour-po,ver at its value; 
then the right to use that po,ver for a day belongs to him, just 
as much as the right to use any other cOilllnodity, such as a 
horse that he bas hired for the day. To the purchaser of a 
commodity belongs its use, and the seller of labour-power, by 
giving his labour, does no more, in reality, than part with the 
use-value that he has sold. From the instant he steps into 
the ,vorkshop, the use-value of his labour-power, and therefore 
also its use, which is labour, belongs to the capitalist. By the 
purchase of laboul'-power, the capitalist incorporates labour, as 
a living ferment, \vith the lifeless constituents of the product. 
Froill his point of view, the }abour-process is nothing more 
than the consuruption of the commodity purchased, i.e., of 
labour-po\ver; bu
 this consumption cannot be effected except 
:by supplying the labour-power with the means of production. 
The labour-process is a process between things that the capital- 
ist has purchased, things that have become his property. The 
product of this process belongs, therefore, to him, just as much 
-as does the wine which is the product of a process of fermenta- 
tion completed in his cellar. l . 

1 U Products are appropriated before they are converted into capital; this conver- 
-sion does not secure them from such appropriation." (Cherbuliez: "Riche ou Pauvre," 
edit. raris, 1841, pp. 53, 54.) "The Proletarian, by selling his labour for a definite 
quantity of the necessal'Ïes of life, renounces all claim to a share in the product. 
The mode of appropriation of the products remains the same as before; it is in no 
way altered by the bargain we have mentioned. The product belongs exclusiveJy to 
the capitalist, who supplied the raw material and the necessaries of -life; and tßts is 
a rigorous consequence of the law of appropriation. a law whose fundamenta! prin- 
,(:iple was the very opposite, namely, that every labourer; has an exclusive right to 


Caþitalist P1"oduction. 


The product appropriated by the capitalist is a use-value, as 
yarn, for example, or boots. But, although boots are, in one 
sense, the basis of all social pr
gress, and our capitalist is a 
decided (C progressist," yet he does not manufacture boots for 
their own sake. Use-value is, by no means, the thing cc qu' on 
Rime pour lui-même" in the production of commodities. Use- 
values are only produced by capitalists, because, and in so far 
as, they are the material substratum, the depositaries of 
exchange-value. Our capitalist has two objects in view: in 
the first place, he wants to produce a use-value that has a 
value in exchange, that is to say, an article destined to be sold, 
a commodity; and secondly, he desires to produce a commodity 
whose value shall be greater than the sum of the values of th
modities used in its production, that is, of the means of 
production and the labour-power, that he purchased with his 
good money in the open market. His aim is to produce not, 
only a use-value, but a commodity also; not only use-value, 
but value; not only value, but at the same tilne surplus- 
It must be borne in mind, that we are now dealing with the 
production of commodities, and that, up to this point, we have 
only considered one aspect of the process. J u8t as commodities 
are, at the same time, use-values and values, so the process of 
producing them must be a labour-process, and at the same 
time, a process of creating value. l 
Let us now examine production as a creation of value. 
We know that the value of each commodity is determined 
by the quantity of labour expended on and materialised in it, 

the ownership of what he produces." (1. o. p. 58.) "'Vhen the labourers receive 
wages for their labour . . . . the capitalist is then the owner not of the capital only" 
(he means the means of production) "but of the labour also. If what is paid as wages. 
is included, as it commonly is, in the term capital, it is absurd to talk of labour 
separately from capital. The word capital as thus employed includes labour and 
capital both." (James l\Iill: "Elements of Pol. Econ.," &c., Ed. 1821, pp. 70, 71.) 
1 As has been stated in a previous note, the English language has two differen' 
expressions for these two different a.spects of labour; in the Simple Labo\1.r-proccss, 
the process of producing Use-Values, it is JV01"k; in the process of creation of Value.. 
it is Labour, taking the term in its strictly economical sønse.-Ed. 

The Labour Process. 

16 7 

by the working-time necessary, under given social conditions, 
for its production. This rule also holds good in the case of 
the product that accrued to our capitalist, as the result of the 
labour-process carried on for him. Assuming this product to 
be 10 lbs. of yarn, our first step is to calculate the quantity of 
labour realised in it. 
For spinning the yarn, raw material is required; suppose in 
this case 10 lbs. of cotton. vVe have no need at present to 
investigate the value of this cotton, for our capitalist has, we 
will assume, bought it at its full value, say of ten shillings. 
In this price the labour required for the production of the 
cotton is already expressed in terms of the average labour of 
society. We will further assume that the wear and tear of the 
spindle, which, for our present purpose, may represent all other 
instruments of labour employed, amounts to the value of 2s. 
If, then, twenty-four hours'labour, or two working days; are 
required to produce the quantity of gold represented by twelve 
shillings, we have here, to begin with, two days' labour already 
incorporated in the yarn. . 
We must not let ourselves be misled by the circumstance 
that the cotton has taken a new shape while the substance of 
the spindle has to a certain extent been used up. By the 
general law of value, if the value of 40 lbs. of yarn = the value 
of 40 lbs. of cotton + the value of a whole spindle, i.e., if the 
same working time is required to produce the commodities on 
either side of this equation, then 10 lbs. of yarn are an 
equivalent for 10 lbs. of cotton. together with one-fourth of a 
Bpindle. In the case we are considering the same working 
time is materialised in the 10 lbs. of yarn on the one hand, 
and in the 10 lbs. of cotton and the fraction of a spindle 
on the other. Therefore, whether value appears in cotton, in 
a spindle, or in yarn, makes no difference in the amount of 
that value. The spindle and cotton, instead of resting quietly 
:Ûde by side, join together in the process, their forms are 
altered, and they are turned into yarn; but their value is 
no more affected by this fact than it would be if they had been 
simply exchanged for their equivalent in yarn. 
The labour required for the production of the cotton, the 


Caþitalist Production. 

raw material of the yarn, is part of the labour necessary to 
produce the yarn, and is therefore contained in the yarn. The 
Rame applies to the labour embodied in the spindle, without 
whose wear and tear the cotton could not be spun. 
Hence, in determining the value of the yarn, pr the labour- 
time required for its production, all the special processes 
carried on at various times and in different places, which were 
necessary, first to produce the cotton and the wasted portion of 
the Bpind]e, and then with the cott.on and spindle to spin the 
yarn, may together be looked on as different and successive 
phases of one and the same process. The whole of the labour 
in the yarn is past labour; and it is a matter of no importance 
that the overations necessary for the production of its con- 
stituent elements were carried on at times which, referred to 
the present, are more remote than the final operation of 
spinning. If a definite quantity of labour, say thirty days, 
is requisite to build a house, the total amount of labour incor- 
porated in it is not altered by the fact that the work of the 
last day is done twenty-nine days later than that of the first. 
Therefore the labour contained in the raw material and the 
instruments of labour can be treated just as if it ,vere labour 
expended in an earJier stage of the spinning process, before the 
labour of actual spinning commenced. 
The values of the means of production, i.e., the cotton and the 
spindle, ,vhich values are expressed in the price of twelve 
shillings, are therefore constituent parts of the value of the 
yarn, or, in other words, of the value of the product. 
TV\To conditions must nevertheless be fulfilled. First, the 
cotton and spindle must concur in the production of a use- 
value; they must in the present case become yarn. Value is 
independent of the particular use-value by which it is borne, but 
it must be embodied in a use-value of some kind. Secondly, 
the time occupied in the labour of production must not exceed 
the time really necessary under the given social conditions of 
the case. Therefore, if no more than lIb. of cotton be requisite 
to spin 1 lb. of yarn, care must be taken that no more than 
this ,veight of cotton is consumed in the production of 1 lb. of 
yarn; and similarly with r
gard to the spindle. Though the 

The Labour Process. 

16 9 

eapitalist have a hobby, and use a gold instead of a steel 
spindle, yet the only labour that counts for anything in the 
value of the yarn is that which would be required to produce 
teel spindle, because no more is necessary under the given 
social conditions. 
'vVe now kno,v what portion of the value of the yarn is ow- 
ing to the cotton and the spindle. It amounts to twelve 
shillings or the value of t\VO days' ,vork. The next point for 
our consideration is, what portion of the value of the yarn is 
added to the cotton by the labour of the spinner. 
We have now to consider this labour under a very different 
-aspect from that which it had during the labour-process; there, 
"e viewed it solely as that particular kind of human activity 
which changes cotton into yarn; there, the more the labour 
,vas suited to the \v<?rk, the better the yarn, other circumstances 
remaining the same. The labour of tLe spinner ,vas then 
viewed as specifically different from other kinds of productive 
labour, different on the one hand in its special aim, viz., spinning, 
different, on the other hand, in the special character of its 
operations, in the special nature of its means of production and 
in the special use-value of its product. For the operation of 
spinning, cotton and Rpindles are a necessity, but for making 
rifled cannon they would be of no use whatever. Here, on the 
contrary, ,vhere ,ve consider the labour of the spinner only 80 
far as it is value-creating, i.e., a source of value, his labour differs 
in no respect from the labour of the man who bores cannon, or 
(\vhat here lllore nearly concerns us), from the labour of the 
cotton-planter and spindle-maker incorporated in the means of 
production. It is solely by reason of this identity, that cotton 
planting, spindle making and spinning, are capable of forming 
the component parts, differing only quantitatively from each 
other, cf one whole, namely, the value of the yarn. Here, we 
have nothing more to do with the quality, the nature and the 
specific character of the labour, but merely with its quantity. 
And this simply requires to be calculated. 'Ve proceed upon 
the assumption that spinning is simple, unskilled labour, the 
average labour of a given state of society. Hereafter we shall 
see that the contrary assumption .would make no difference. 


Caþitalist Production. 

While the labourer is at work, his labour constantly under.. 
goes a transformation: from being motion, it becomes an object 
without motion; from being the labourer working, it bec 1mes 
the thing produced. At the end of one hour's spinning, that 
act is represented by a definite quantity of yarn; in other 
words, a definite quantity of labour, namely t.hat of one hour, 
has become embodied in the cotton. We say labour, i.e., the ex- 
penditure of his vital force by the spinner, and not spinning 
labour, because the special work of spinning counts .here, only 
80 far 
 it is the expenditure of labour-power in general, and 
not in so far as it is the specific work of the spinner. 
In the process we are now considering it is of extreme im-- 
portance, that no more time be consumed in the work of trans-- 
forming the cotton into yarn than is necessary under the given 
social conditions. If under normal, i.e., average social condi- 
tions of production, a pounds of cotton ought to be made into- 
b pounds of yarn by one hour's labour, then a day's labour 
does not count as 12 hours' labour unless 12 a pounds of cotton 
have been made into 12 b pounds of yarn; for in the creation 
of value, the time that is socially necessary alone count
Not only the labour, but also the raw material and the pro- 
duct now appear in quite a new light, very different from that 
in which we viewed them in the labour-process pure and 
øimple. The raw material serves now merely as an absorbent 
of a definite quantity of labour. By this absorption it is in 
fact changed into yarn, because it is spun, because labour-power 
in the form of spinning is added to it; but the product, the 
yarn, is now nothing more than a measure of the labour 
absorbed by the cotton. If in one hour Ii lbs. of cotton can be 
spun into Ii Ibs. of yarn, then 10 Ibs. of yarn indicate the 
absorption of 6 hours' labour. Definite quantities of product, 
these quantities being detennined by experience, now. represent 
nothing but definite quantities of labour, definit
 masses of 
crystallized labour-time. They are nothing more than the 
materialisation of so many hours or so many days of sociaì 
We are here no more concerned about the facts, that the- 
labour is the specific work of spinning, that its subject is cotton 

The Labour Process. 

17 1 

and its product yarn, tban we are about the fact that the subject 
itself is already a product and therefore raw material. If the 
spinner, instead of spinning, were working in a coal mine, the 
subject of his labour, the coal, would be supplied by Nature; 
nevertheless, a definite quantity of extracted coal, a hundred 
weight for example, would represent a definite quantity of 
absorbed labour. 
\Ve assutned, on t.he occasion of its sale, that the value of 
a day's labour-power is three shillings, and that six hours r 
labour are incorporated in that sum; and consequently that this 
amount of labour is requisite to produce the necessaries of life 
daily required on an average by the labourer. If now our 
spinner by working for one hour, can convert Ii lbs. of cotton 
into Ii lbs. of yarn,! it follows that in six hours he will convert. 
10 Ibs. of cotton into 10 Ibs. of yarn. Hence, during the spinn- 
ing process, the cotton absorbs six hours' labour. The same 
quantity of labour is also embodied in a piece of gold of the 
value of three shillings. Consequently by the mere labour of 
spinning, a value of three shillings is added to the cotton. 
Let us now consider the total value of the product, the 10 
Ibs. of yarn. Two and a half days' labour have been embodied 
in it, of ,vhich two days were contained in the cotton and in 
the substance of the spindle worn a\vay, and half a day was 
abHorbed during the })rocess of spinning. This two and a half 
days) labour is also represented by a piece of gold of the value 
of fifteen shillings. Hence, fifteen shillings is an adequate price 
for the 10 Ibs. of yarn, or the price of one pound is eighteen- 
Our capitalist stares in astonishment. The value of the pro- 
duct is exactly equal to the value of the capital advanced. The 
,yalue so advanced has not expanded, no surplus-value has been 
created, and consequently money has not been converted into 
capital. The price of the yarn is fifteen shillings, and fifteen 
shillings were spent in the open market upon the constituent 
elements of the product, or, what amounts to the same thing r 
upon the factors of the labour-process; ten shillings were paid 
for the cotton, two shillings for the substance of the 

] These fì1!1Jre-p aTe Quite Q,rbitrd

17 2 

Caþitalist ProductiolZ. 

worn away, and three shillings for the labour-power. The 
.swollen value of the yarn is of no avail, for it is merely the 
sum of the values formerly existing in the cotton, the spindle, 
and the labour-power: out of such a simple addition of existing 
lues, no surplus-value can possibly arise. l These separate 
values are now all concentrated in one thing; but so they were 
.also in the sum of fifteen shillings, before it was split up into 
three parts, by the purchase of the commodities. 
There is in reality nothing very strange in this result. The 
value of one pound of yarn being eighteenpence, if our capitalist 
buys 10 Ibs. of yarn in the market, he must pay fifteen shillings 
for thein. It is clear that, whether a man buys his house ready 
built, or gets it built for him, in neither case will the mode of 
acquisition increase the amount of money laid out on the 
Our capitalist, ,vho is at home in his vulgar economy, 
exclaims: "Oh! but I advanced my money for the express 
purpose of making more money.1' The way to Hell is paved 
,vith good intentions, and he might just as easily have intended 
to make money, ,vithout producing at all. 2 He threatens all 
sorts of things. He won't be caught napping again. In 
future he will buy the commodities in the market, instead of 
manufacturing them himself. But if all his brother capitalists 
were to do the same, where would he find his commodities in 
the market? And his money he cannot eat. He tries persua- 
sion. "Consider my abstinence; I might have played ducks 
-and drakes with the 15 shillings; but instead of that I con- 
sumed it productively, and made yarn with it." Very weU, 

1 This is the fundamental proposition on which is based the doctrine of the 
Physiocrats as to the unproductiveness of all labour that is not agriculture: it is 
irrefutable for the orthodox economist. "Gette façon d'imputer à une seule chose 
1a valeur de plusieurs autres" (par exemple au lin la consommation du tisserand), 
H d'appliquer, pour ainsi dire, couche sur couche, plusieurs valeurs sur une seule, fait 
que celle-ci grossit d'autant. .. Le terme d'addition peint très-bien la 
manière dont se forme Ie prix deB ouvrages de main-d'æuvre; ce prix n'est qu'un total 
de plusieurs valeuTs consommées et additionnées ensemble; or, additionner n'est pas 
multiplier. " (" :Mercier de la Ri vière," 1. c., p. 599.) 
2 Thus from 184-1-41 he withdrew part of his capital from productive employment, 
in order to throw it away in railway speculations; and so also, during the American 
Civil 'Var, he closed his factory, and turned his work-peo1>l a illto the streets, in order 
to gamble on the Liverpool cotton exchange. 

The Labour Proces

Þ<'J 3 

and by way of reward he is now in possession of good yar., 
instead of a bad conscience; and as for playing the part of a 
miser, it would never do for hinl to "elapse into such bad ways 
as that; we have seen before to what restÙts such asceticism 
leads. Besides, \vhere nothing is, the king has lost his rights; 
\vhatever may be the merit of his abstinence, there is nothing 
where\vith specially to remunerate it, because the value of the 
product is merely the sum of the values of the commodities 
that were thrown into the process of production. Let him 
tberefore console himself with the reflection that virtue is its 
own re\vard. But no, he becomes importunate. He says: 
"The yarn is of no use to me: I produced it for sale." In that 
case let him sell it, or, still better, let him for the future produce 
only things for satisfying his personal wants, a remedy that his 
1'Culloch has already prescribed as infallible against 
an epidemic of over-production. He now gets obstinate. 
U Can the labourer,)) he asks, "merely with his arms and leg8, 
produce commodities out of nothing? Did I not supply him 
with the materials, by means of wbich, and in \vbich alone, his 
labour could be embodied 1 And as the greater part of society 
consists of such ne'er-do-weels, bave I not rendered society 
incalculable service by my instruments of production, my cotton 
and my spindle, and not only society, but the labourer also, 
whom in addition I have provided with the necessaries of life? 
And am I to be allo\ved nothing in return for all this service? " 
'VeIl, but has not the labourer rendered him the equivalent 
service of changing his cotton and spindle into yarn 1 More- 
over, there is here no question of service. 1 A service is nothing 
more than the useful effect of a use-value, be it of a commodity, 

1 "Exto1 thyseU, put on finery and adorn thyself. . . but whoever takes more 
or better than he gives, that is usury, and is not service, but wrong done to his neigh- 
bOl1r, as when one steals and robs. All is not service and benefit to a. neighbour that 
is called service and benefit. For an adulteress and adulterer do one another great 
service and pleasure. A horseman does an incendiary a great service, by helping him 
to rob on the highway, and pillage land and houses. The papists do ours a great 
service in that they don't drown, burn, murder all of them, or let them all rot in 
prison; but let some live, and only drive them out, or take from them what they 
have. The devil himself does his servants inestimable service . . . To sum up, 
the world is full of great, excellent, and daily service and benefit." (Martin Luther: 
" An die Pfarherrn, wider den "\Vu
her zu predigen," "\Vittenberg, 1540.) 


Caþltal-ist Product-ion. 

<>r be it of labour. 1 But here we are dea1ing with exchange- 
value. The capitalist paid to the labourer a value of 3 shillings, 
.and the labourer gave him back an exact equivalent in the value 
of 3 shillings, added by him to the cotton: he gave him value 
for value. Our friend, up to this time so purse-proud, suddenly 
assumes the modest demeanour of his own workman, and 
.exclaims: "Have I myself not worked? Have I not performed 
the labour of superintendence and of overlooking the spinner? 
A nd does not this labour, too, create value 1 II His overlooker 
and his manager try to hide their smiles. Meanwhile, after a 
hearty laugh, he re-assumes his usual mien. Though he 
.chanted to us the whole creed of the economists, in reality, he 
says, he would not give a brass farthing for it. He leaves this 
.and all such like subterfuges and juggling tricks to the 
professors of political economy, who are paid for it. He him- 
self is a practical man; and though he does not al ways consider 
what he says outside his business, yet in his business he knows 
what he is about. 
Let us examine the matter more closely. The value of a 
-day's labour-power amounts to 3 shillings, because on our 
assumption half a day's labour is embodied in that quantity of 
labour-power, i.e., because the means of subsistence that are daily 
required for the production of labour-power, cost half a day's 
labour. But the past labour that is embodied in the labour- 
power, and the living labour that it can call into action; the 
daily cost of maintaining it, and its daily expenditure in work, 
are two totally different things. The former determines the 
exchange-value of the labour-po\ver, the latter is its use-value. 
The fact tl)at half a day's labour is necessary to keep the 
labourer alive during 24 hours, does not in any way prevent 
him from working a whole day. Therefore, the value of labour- 
power, and the value which that labour-power creates in the 
labour process, are two entirely different magnitudes; and this 
difference of the two values was what the capitalist had in 
view, when he was purchasing the labour-po\ver. The usefuJ 
qualities that labour-power possesses, and by virtue of which it 
1 In" Zur Kritik der Pol. Oek.," p. 14, I make the following remark on this 
point-" It is not difficult to understand what' service' the category' service 
.lender to a class of economists like J. B. Say and F. Bastiat." 

The Labour Process. 


makes yarn or boots, were to him nothing more than a conditio 
sine qua non; for in order to create value, labour must be 
-expended in a useful manner. What really influenced him was 
the specific use-value which this commodity possesses of being 
.a source not only of value, but of more value than it has itself 
This is the special service that the capitalist expects from 
labour-power, and in this transaction he acts in accordance 
,vith the "eternalla ws " of tho exchange of commodities. The 
seller of labour-power, like the seller of any other commodity, 
realises its exchange-value, and parts with its use-value. He 
cannot take the one without giving the other. The use-value 
of labour-power, or in other '
, labour, belongs just as little 
to its seller, as the use-value of oil after it has been sold belongs 
to the dealer who has sold it. The owner of the money has 
paid the value of a day's labour-power; his, therefore, is the 
use of it for a day; a day's labour belongs to him. The cir- 
cumstance, that on the one hand the daily sustenance of labour- 
power costs only half a day's labour, while on the other hand 
the very same labour-power can work during a whole day, that 
-consequently the value ,vhich its use during one day creates, is 
double what he pays for that use, this circumstance is, without 
doubt, a piece of good luck for the buyer, but by no means an 
injury to the seller. 
Our capitalist foresaw this state of things, and that ,vas the 
-cause of his laughter. The labourer therefore finds, in the 
workshop, the means of production necessary for working, not 
only during six, but during twelve hours. Just as during the 
six hours' process our 10 Ibs. of cotton absorbed six hours' labour, 
and became 10 Ibs. of yarn, so now, 20 Ibs. of cotton will absorb 12 
hours' labour and be changed into 20 Ibs. of yarn. Let us now 
examine the product of this prolonged process. There is now 
materialised in this 20 lbs.ofyarn the labour of five days, of which 
four days are due to the cotton and the Jost steel of the spindle, 
the remaining day having been absorbed by the cotton during 
the spinning process. Expressed in gold, the labour of five 
days is thirty shillings. This is therefore the price of the 
20 lbs. of yarn, giving, as before, eighteen pence as the price of a 
pound. But the sum of the values of the commodities that 

17 6 

Caþitalist Production. 

entered into the process amounts to 27 shillings. The value 
of the yarn is 30 shillings. Therefore the value of the product 
L'3 j- greater than the value advanced for its production; 27 
shillings have been transformed into 30 shillings; a surplus- 
value of 3 shillings has been created. The trick has at last 
succeeded; money has been converted into capital. 
Every condition of the problem is satisfied, while the laws 
that regulate the exchange of commoditie
, have been in no way 
violated. Equivalent bas been exchanged for equivalent. For 
the capitalist as buyer paid for each commodity, for the cotton, 
the spindle and the labour-power, its full value. He then did 
what is done by every purchaser of commodities; he consumed 
their use-value. The consumption of the labour-power, which 
was also the process of producing commodities, resulted in 20 
lbs. of yarn, having a value of 30 shillings. The capitalist, 
formerly a buyer, now returns to market as a seller, of com- 
modities. He sells his yarn at eighteenpence a pound, which is 
its exact value. Yet for all that he withdraws ::s shillings more 
from circulation than he originally threw into it. This 
metamorphosis, this conversion of Inoney into capital, takes 
place both within the sphere of circulation and also outside it; 
within the circulation, because conditioned by the purchase of 
the labour-power in the market; outside the circulation, be- 
cause what is done within it is only a stepping-stone to the 
production of surplus-value, a process which is entirely confined 
t.o the sphere of production. Thus" tout est pour Ie mieux 
dans Ie meilleur des mondes possibles." 
By turning his money into commodities that serve as the 
material elements of a new product, and as factors in the labour- 
process, by incorporating living labour with their dead su b- 
stance, the capitalist at the same time converts value, i.e., past, 
materialised, and dead labour into capital, into value big with 
value, a live monster that is fruitful and multiplies. 
If ,ve now compare the two processes of producing value and 
of creating surplus-value, we see that the latter is nothing but 
the Ct. ltinuation of the former beyond a definite point. If on 
the one hand the process be not carried beyond the point, 
where the value paid by the capitalist for the labour-po,ver is 

7 he Labour Protess. 


replaced by an exact equivalent, it is silnply a process of pro- 
ducing value; if, on the other hand, it be continued beyond 
that point, it becomes a process of creating surplus-value. 
If ,ve proceed further, and con1pare the process of producing 
value with the labour-process, pure and simple, we find that 
the latter consists of the useful labour, the work, that produces 
use-values. Here we contemplate the labour as producIng a 
particular article; ,ve view it under its qualitative aspect alone, 
with regard to its end and aim. But viewed as a value-creating 
process, the same labour-process presents itself under its 
quantitative aspect alone. Here it is a question merely of tho 
time occupied by the labourer in doing the work; of the period 
during which the ]abour-power is usefully expended. Here, 
the commodities that take part in the process, do not count 
any longer as necessary adjuncts of labour-power in the pro- 
duction of a definite, useful object. They count merely as 
depositaries of so much absorbed or materialised labour; that 
labour, whether previously em bodied in the means of proù uctiOIl, 
or incorp
rated in them for the first time during the process 
by the action of labour-power, counts in either case only 
according to its duration j it amounts to 80 many hours or Jays 
as the case may be. 
Moreover, only so much of the time spent in the production 
of any article is counted, as, under the given social conditions, 
is necessary. The consequen
es of this are various. In the 
first place, it becomes necessary that the labour t;hould be 
carried on under normal conditions. If a self-acting m uJ e is 
the implement in general use for spinning, it would be absurd 
to supply the spinner with a distaff and spinning wheel. The 
cotton too must not be such rubbish as to cause extra waste in 
being worked, but must be of suitable quality. Otherwise the 
spinner would be found to spend more time in producing a 
pound of yarn than is socially necessary, in which case the 
excess of time would create neither value nor money. But 
whether the material factors of the process are of nonral 
quality or not, depends not upon the labourer, but entire]y upon 
the capitalist. Then again, the labour-P'>wer itself must Le of 
average efficacy. In the trade in which it is being elnployed, 


Caþitalist Production. 

it must possess the average skill, handiness and quickness pre- 
valent in that trade, and our capitalist took good care to buy 
labour-power of such norma.l goodness. This power must be 
applied with the average amount of exertion and with the 
usual degree of intensity; and the capitalist is as careful to 
see that this is done, as that his workmen are not idle for a 
single moment. He has bought the use of the labour-power 
for a definite period, and he insists upon his rights. He has 
no intention of being robbed. Lastly, and for this purpose our 
friend has a penal code of his own, all wasteful consumption of 
raw material or instruments of labour is strictly forbidden, be- 
cause what is 80 wasted, represents labour superfluously ex- 
pended, labour that does not count in the product or enter into 
its value. 1 
We now see, that the difference between labour, considered 
on the one hand as producing utilities, and on the other hand, 

1 This is one of the circumstances that makes production by slave labour such a. 
costly process. The labourer here is, to use a striking expression of the ancients, dis- 
tinguishable only &8 instrumentum vo<:ale, from an animal as instrumentum semi- 
vocale, and from an implement as instrumentum mutum. But he himself takes care 
to let both beast and implement feel that he is none of them, bu.t is a man. He con- 
vinces himself with immense sa.tisfaction, that he ÍB a. different being, by treatinJ 
the one unmercifully and damaging the other con amore. Hence the principle, uni- 
versally applied in this method of production, only to employ the rudest and heavieit 
implements and such as are difficult to owing to their sheer clumsiness. In 
the slave-states bordering on the Gulf of :Mexico, down to the date of the civil war, 
ploughs constructed on old Chineee models, which turned up the soil like a hog or a 
mole, instead of making furrows, were alone to be found. Conf. J. C. Cairns. 
"The Slave Power," London, 1862, p. 4()-49. In his" Sea Board Slave States," 
Olmsteù tells us: "I am here shown tools that no man in his senses, with us, would 
allow a labourer, for whom he was paying wages, to be encumbered with; and the 
excessive weight and clumsiness of which, I would judge, would make work at least 
ten per cent greater than with those ordinarily used with us. And I am assured that, 
in the careless and clumsy way they must be used by the slaves, anything lighter or 
less rude could not be furnished them with good economy, and that such tool! as we 
constantly give our labourers and find our profit in giving them, would Dot last out a 
day in a Virginia cornfield-much lighter and more free from stones though it be 
than ours. So, too, when I ask why mules are so universally substituted for horses 
on the farm, the first reason given, and confessedly the most conclusive one, is tbat 
horses cannot bear the treatment that they always must get from negroes; horses are 
always soon foundered or crippled by them, while mules will bear cudgelling, or luse 
a meal or two now and then, and not be materially injured, and they do not take cold or 
get sick, if neglected or overworkeù. But I do not need to go further than to the 
window of the room in which I am writing, to Bee at almost any time, treatment of 

ttl(' that would ensure the immediate discharge of the driver by almost any farm
owping them in the North." 

The Labour Process. T 79 
as creating value, a ditlerence which we discovered by OUI 
analysis of a commodity, resolves itself into a di8tinction bo- 
.t" een two aspects of the process of production. 
The process of production, considered on the one han( I as 
tbe 'unity of the labour-process and the proces
 of creating 
value, is production of commodities; consiùered on the other 
hand as the unity of the labour-process and the process of pro- 
ducing surplus-value, it is the capitalist process of prolluction, 
or capitalist production of commodities. 
We stated, on a previous page, that in the creation of 
yalue it does Dot in the least matter, whether the labour ap- 
propriated by the capitalist be simple unskilled laLouI' of 
average quality or more complicated skilled labour. Alliabour 
of a higher or more complicated character than average labour 
is expenditure of labour-power of a more costly kind, labour- 
power whose production has cost more time and labour, and 
which therefore has a higher value, than unskiHed or simple 
labour-power. This power being of higher value, its consump- 
tion is labour of a higher class, labour that create
 in equal times 
proportionally higher values than unskilled labour does. 
Whatever differertce in skill there may be bet\veen the labour 
of a spinner and that of a jeweller, the portion of his labour 
by which the jeweller merely replaces the value of his own 
labour-power, does not in any way differ in quality from the 
additional portion by which he creates surplus-value. In the 
making of jeweHery, just as in spinning, the surplus-value re- 
sults only from a quantitative excess of labour, from a lengthen- 
ing-out of one and the 
ame labour-process, in the (,ne case, of 
the process of making jewels, in the other of the process of 
makin!; yarn. l 
1 The dit.tinction between skilled ann unskilled labour rests in part on pure iUu- 
sion, or, to 8ay the le.ast, on distinctions that have long since ceasetl to be real, and 
that survive only by virtue òf a traditional convention; in part on the helpless con- 
dition of some groups of the working-class, a condition that preveuts them from 
exacting equally v.ith the rest the value of their labour-power. ACcÍIlental cir- 
cumstances here play so great a part, that these two forms of lahour sometimes 
change places. 'Vhere, for instanco, the physique of the working-class has deterio- 
rated, ann is, relatively speaking, exhausted, which is the case in all countries with a 
well developed capitalist production, the lower forms of labour, which (lemand great 
expenditure of muscle, are in general con8idered as skilled, compared with much 
more delicate forms of labour; the latter link down to the level of unskilled labour. 


Caþitalist Production. 

But on the other hand, in every process of creating value, 
the reduction of skilled labour to average social labour, e.g., 
one day of skilled to six days of unskilled labour, is un- 
avoidable. I We therefore save ourselves a superfluous opera- 
tion, and simplify our analysis, by the assumption, that the 
labour of the workman employed by the capitalist is unskilled 
average labour. 



THE various factors of the labour-process play different parts 
in forming the value of the product. 
The labourer adds fresh value to the subject of his labour 
by expending upon it a given amount of additional labour, no 
matter what the specific character and utility of that labour 
may be. On the other hand, the values of the means of pro- 
duction used up in the process are preserved, and present 
themselves afresh as constituent parts of the value of the pro- 

Take as a.n example the la.bour of a bricklayer, which in England occupies a much 
higher leTel than that of a damask-weaver. Again, although the labour of a fustian 
cutter demand8 great bodily exertion, and i8 at the same time unhealthy, yet it 
counts only as unskilled labour. And then, we must not forget, that the so-called 
skilled labour does not occupy a large space in the field of national labour. Laing 
estimates that in England (and Wales) the livelihood of 11,300,000 people depends 
on unskilled labour. If from the total population of 18,000,000 living at the time 
when he wrote, we deduct 1,000,000 for the" genteel population," and 1,500,000 
for paupers, vagra.ntll, criminals, pro!titutes, kc., and 4,650,000 who composc the 
middle-class, there remain the above mentioned 11,000,000. But in his middle-class 
he includes people that live on the interest of small investments, official!, men of 
letters, artists, schoolmasters and the like, and in order to swell the number he also 
includes in thelle 4,650,000 the better paid portion of the factory operativetJ I The 
bricklay en, too, figure amongst them. (S. Laing: U National Di8tre!s," &c., London, 
1844.) U The great clMs who haTe nothing to give for food but ordinary labour, are 
the great bulk of the people-" (James Mill, in art: "Colony," Supplement to the 
Encyclop. Brit., 1831.) 
1 "Where reference is made to labour as a measure of value, it neceesarily implies 
labour of one particulAr kind. . . the proportion which the other kinds bear to it 
being easily a8certained:' (" Outlines of Po:" 
con,," Lond., 1832, pp. 22 and 23.) 

Constallt Caþital a1zd Variable Caþital. 181 

duct; the values of the cotton and the spindle, for instanc9, re- 
appear again in the value of the yarn. The value of the 
means of production is therefore preserved, by being trans- 
fen'ed to the product. This tran8fer takes place during the 
conversion of those means into a product, or in other words, 
during the labour-process. It is brought about by labour; but 
The labourer does not perform two operations at once, one 
in order to add value to the cotton, the other in order to pre- 
serve the value of the means of production, or, what amounts 
to the same thing, to transfer to the yarn, to the product, the 
value of the cotton on which he works, and part of the value 
of the spindle with which he works. But, by the very act of 
adding new value, he preserves their former values. Since, 
however, the addition of new value to the subject of his labour, 
",3,nd the preservation of its former value" are two entirely dis- 
tinct results, produced simultaneously by the labourer, during 
one operation, it is plain that this twofold nature of the 
result can be explained only by the twofold nature of his 
labour; at one and the same time" it must in one character 
create value, and in another character preserve or transfer 
Now, in what manner does every labourer add new labour 
and consequently new value? Evidently" only by labouring 
productively in a particular way; the spinner by spinning, the 
,veaver by weaving, the smith by forging. But" while thus 
incorporating labour generally, that is value, it is by the par- 
ticular form alone of the labour, hy the spinning, the ,veaving 
and the forging respectively, that the means of production, the 
cotton and spindle, the yarn and loom" and the iron and anvil 
become constituent elements of the product, of a new use- 
value. l Each use-value disappears, but only to re-appear under 
a new form in a new use-value. Now, we saw, when we were 
considering the process of creating value, that, if a use-value 
be effectively consumed in the production of a new use-value, 
the quantity of labour expended in the production of the con- 

1 "Labour givcs a. new creation for one extinguished.'J (" An essay on the Polit. 
Econ. of Kations," Lonùon, 1821, p. 13.) 



Caþitalist Production. 

Burned article, forms a portion of the quantity of labour 
necessary to produce the new use-value; this portion is there- 
fore labour transferred from the means of production to the 
new product. Hence, the labourer preserves the values of the 
consumed means of production, or transfers them M portions of 
its value to the product, not by virtue of his additional labour, 
abstractedly considered, but by virtue of the particular useful 
character of that labour, by virtue of its special productive 
form. In so far then as labour is such specific productive activ- 
ity, in so far as it is spinning, weaving, or forging, it raises, by 
mere contact, the means of production from the dead, makes 
them living factors of the labour-process, and combines with 
them to form the new products. 
If the special productive labour of the workman were not 
spinning, he could not convert the cotton into yarn, and there- 
fore could not transfer the values of the cotton and spindle to 
the yarn. Suppose the same workman were to change his 
occupation to that of a joiner, he would still by a day's labour 
add value to the material he works upon. Consequently, we 
see, first, that the addition of new value takes place not by 
virtue of his labour being spinning in particular, or joinering 
in particular, but because it is labour in the abstract, a portion 
of the total labour of society; and we see next, that the value 
added is of a given definite amount, not because his labour 
has a special utility, but bpcause it is exerted for a definite 
time. On the one hand, then, it is by virtue of its general 
character, as being expenditure of human labour-power in the 
abstract, that spinning adds new value to the values of the 
cotton and the spindle; and on the other hand, it is by virtue 
of its special character, as being a concrete, useful process, that 
the same labour of spinning both transfers the values of the 
means of production to the product, and preserves them in the 
product. Hence at one and the same time there is produced a 
twofold result. 
By the simple addition of a certain quantity of labourto 
new value is added, and by the quality of this added 
labour, the original values of the means of production 
are preserved in the product. This t:wofold effect, resulting 

ConstaNt Caþital alld ITariable Capital. 183 

from the t" of old character of ]abour, may be traced in various 
Let us assume, that some invention enables the spinner to 
spin as much cotton in 6 hours as he was able to spin before in 
36 hours. His labour is now six times as effective as it 
was, for the purposes of useful production. The product of 6 
hours' work has increased sixfold, from 61bs. to 361bs. But now 
the 36 Ibs. of cotton absorb only the same amount of labour as 
formerly did the 6lbs. One-sixth as much new labour is absorbed 
by each pound of cotton, and consequently, the value added by 
the labour to each pound is only one-sixth of what it formerly 
was. On the other hand, in the product, in the 36 lbs. of yarn, 
the value transferred from the cotton is six times as great as 
before. By the 6 hours' spinning, the value of the raw 
material preserved and transferred to the product is six tin1es 
as great 8S before, although the new value added by the 
. labour of the spinner to each pound of the very same raw 
Dlaterial is one-sixth what it was formerly. This shows that the 
two properties of labour, by virtue of which it is enabled in 
one case to preserve value, and in the other to create value, are 
entially different. On the one hand, the longer the time 
necessary to spin a given weight of cotton into yarn, the 
greater is the new value added to the material; on the other 
hand, the greater the weight of the cotton spun in a given time, 
the greater is the value preserved, by being transferred from it 
to the product. 
Let us now assume, that the productiveness of the spinner's 
]abour, ìnstead of varying, remains constant, that he therefore 
requires the same time as he former]y did, to convert one 
pound of cotton into yarn, but that the exchange value of the 
cotton varies, either by rising to six times its former value or fall- 
ing to one-sixth of that value. In both these cases, the spinnel 
puts the same quantity of labour into a pound of cotton, anc 
therefore adds as much value, as he did before the change in 
the value: he also produces a given weight of yarn in the 
same time as he did before. Nevertheless, the value that he 
transfers from the cotton to the yarn is either one-sixth of what 
it was before the variation, or, as the case may be, six times as 

18 4 

Caþitalist Productzon. 

much as before. The same result occurs when the value of the 
instruments of labour rises or falls, while their useful efficacy 
in the process remains unaltereJ. 
Again, if the technical conditions of the spinning process re- 
main unchanged, and no change of value takes place in the 
means of production, the spinner continues to consume in 
equal working-times equal quantities of raw material, and equal 
quantities of machinery of unvarying value. The value that 
he preserves in the product is directly proportional to the new 
value that he adds to the product. In two weeks he incor- 
porates twice as much labour, and tberefore twice as much 
value, as in one week, and during the same time he consumes 
t,vice as much material, and wears out tWIce as much 
lliachinery, of double the value in each case; be therefore pre- 
serves, in the product of t\VO \veeks, twice as much value as in 
the product of one week. So long as the conditions of produc- 
tion remain the same, the more value the labourer adds by 
fresh labour, the more value he transfers and preserves; but he 
does so merely because this addition of new value takes place 
under conditions that have not varied and are independent uf 
his own labour. Of course, it may be said in one sense, that 
the labourer preserves old value always in proportion to the 
quantity of new value that he adds. 'Vhether the value of 
cotton rise from one shilling to two shillings, or fall to six- 
pence, the workman invariably preserves in the product of one 
hour only one half as much value as he preserves in two hours. 
In like manner, if the productiveness of his own labour varies 
by rising or faJling, he will in one hour spin either more or less 
cotton, as the case may be, than he did before, and will con- 
sequently preserve in the product of one hour, more or less 
value of cotton; but, all the same, he will preserve by two 
hours' labour twice as much value as he will by one. 
Value exists only in articles of utility, in objects: we leave 
out of consideration its purely symbolical representation by 
tokens. (Man himself: viewed as the impersonation of labour- 
power, is a natural object, a thing, although a living conscious 
thing) and labour is the manifestation of this power residing in 
him.) If therefore an article loses its utility, it also loses its 

Consta1zt Caþital and Variable Caþital. 18 5 

value. The reason ,vhy lneans of production do not lose their 
value, at the sallie time that they lose their use-value, is this: 
they lose in the labour-process the original form of their use- 
value, only to aSSUlne in the prcduct the form of a new use-value. 
But, however Ï1l1portant it may be to value, that it should have 
some object of utility to embody itself in, yet it is a matter of 
complete indifference what particular object serves this purpose; 
this we saw when treating of the metamorphosis of commodities. 
Hence it follows that in the labour-process the means of pro- 
duction transfer their value to the product only so far as along 
with their use-value they lose also their exchange value. 
They give up to the product that value alone v, hich they 
themselves lose as means of production. But in this respect the 
material factors of the labour-process do not all behave alike. 
The coal burnt under the boiler vanishes without leaving a 
trace; 80, too, the tallo\v with which the axles of wheels are 
greased. Dye btufi's and other auxiliary substances also vanish 
but re-appear as properties of the product. Raw material 
forms the substance of the product, but only after it has changed 
its form. Hence ra,v material and auxiliary substances lose 
the characteristic form with which they are clothed on entering 
the labour-process. It is otherwise with the instrument8 of 
labour. Tools, machines, workshops, and vessels, are of use in 
the labour-process, only so long as they retain their original 
sbape, and are ready each morning to renew the process with 
their Rhape unchanged. And just as during their lifetime. 
that is to say, during the continued labour-process in which 
they serve, they retain their shape independent of the product, 
so, too, they do after their death. The corpses of machines. 
tools, workshops, &c., are always separate and distinct from the 
product they helped to turn out. If we now consider the case 
of any instrument of labour during the whole period of its 
service, from the day oÎ its entry into the workshop, till the 
day of its banishment into the lumber room, we find that dur- 
ing this period its use-value has been completely consumed, 
and therefore its exchange value completely transferred to the 
product. For instance, if a spinning machine lasts for 10 years, 
it is pJain that during that working period its total value is 


Caþ Prodztctzon. 

gradually transferred to the product of the 10 years. The life- 
time of an instrument of labour, therefore, is spent in the 
repetition of a greater or less number of similar operations. 
lis life may be compared with that of a human being. Every 
day brings a man 24 hours nearer to his grave: but how many 
days he has still to travel on that road, no man can tell 
accurately by merely looking at him. This difficulty, however, 
does not prevent life insurance offices from drawing, by means 
of the theory of averages, very accurate, and at the same time 
very profitable conclusions. So it is with the instruments of 
labour. It is known by experience how long on the average a 
machine of a particular kind will last. Suppose its use-value 
in the labour-process to last only six days. Then, on the 
average, it loses each day one-sixth of its use-value, and there- 
fore parts with one-sixth of its value to the daily product. The 
wear and tear of all instruments, their daily loss of use-valuer 
and the corresponding quantity of value they part with to the 
product, are accordingly calculated upon this basis. 
It is thus strikingly clear, that means of production never 
transfer more value to the product than they themselves lose 
during the labour-process by the destruction of their own use- 
value. If such an instrument has no value to lose, if, in other 
words, it is not the product of human labour, it transfers no 
value to the product. It helps to create use-value without con- 
tributing to the formation of exchange value. In this class are 
included all means of production supplied by Nature without 
human assistance, such as land, wind, water, metals in situ, and 
timber in virgin foresÌ8. 
Yet another interesting phenomenon here presents itself. 
Suppose a machine to be worth .t1000, and to wear out in 1000 
days. Then one thousandth part of the value of the machine 
is daily transferred to the day's product. At the same time, 
though with diminishing vitality, the machine as a whole con- 
tinues to take part in the labour-process. Thus it appears, 
that one factor of the labour-process, a means of production, 
continually enters as a whole into that process, while it enters 
into the process of the formation of value by fractions only. 
The (lifference between the two processes is here reflected in 

Constant Capital a1zd Variable Caþital. 18 7 

their material factors, by the same instrument of production 
taking part a8 a whole in the labour-process, while at the same 
time as an element in the fonnation of value, it enters only by 
fractions. l 
On the other hand, a menns of production may take part as a 
whole in the formation of value, while into the labour-process 
it enters only bit by bit. Suppose that in spinning cotton, the 
waste for every 115 lbs. used amounts to 15 lbs., which is con- 
verted, not into yarn, but into "devil's dust." Now, although 
this 15 lbs. of cotton never becomes a constituent element of 
the yarn, yet assuming this amount of waste to be normal and 
inevitabLe under average conditions of spinning, its value is 
just as surely transferred to the value of the yarn, as is the 
value of the 100 Ibs. that form the substance of the yarn. The 
use-value of 15 Ibs. of cotton must vanish into dust, before 100 
lbs. of yarn can be made. The destruction of this cotton is 
therefore a necessary condition in the production of the yarn. 
And because it is a necessary condition, and for no other reason, 
the value of that cotton is transfeITed to the product. The same 
holds good for every kind of refuse resulting from a la bour- 
process, so far at least as such refuse cannot be further employed 
as a means in the production of new and independent use-values. 
1 The subject of r6pairs of the implements of labour does not concern us here. A 
machine that is undergoing repair, no longer plays the part of aD inl!trument, but 
that of a lIubject of labour. Work is no longer done with it, but upon it. It is quite 
permissible for our purpose to assume, that the labour expended on the repairs of in- 
struments is included in the labour neces!ary for their original Eroduction. But in 
the text we deal 
ith that wear and tear, which no doctor can cure, and which little 
by little brings about death, with "that kind of wear which cannot be repaired from 
time to time, and which, in the case of a knife, would ultimately reduce it to a state 
in which the cutler would say of it, it il not worth a new blade." 'V c have shewn in 
the text, tha.t a machine takes part in every labour-process as an integral machine, but 
that into the limultaneous procells of creating value it enters ouly bit by bit. How 
great then il the confusion of ideas exhibited in the following extract! "1rlr. Ricardo 
BaYI a portion of the labour of the engineer in making [stocking] machines" is 
contAined for example in the value of a pair of stockings. "Yet the total labour, 
that produced each single pair of stockings . . . . includes the whole labour of 
the engineer, not a. portion; for one machine makes many pairs, and none of those 
'Pa.irl could have been done without any part of the machine." (" Dbs. on certain verbal 
dillputes in Pol. Econ. particu1arlyrelating to value, "p. 54.) The author, an uncommonly 
solf-satisfied wiseacre, is right in his confusion and therefore in his contention, to this 
extent only. that neither Ricardo nor any other economist, before or since him, has 
accura.tely distinguished the two aspects of labour, and still less, therefore, the pari, 
played by it under each of aspects in the formation of value. 


Caþitalist Productio1Z. 

Such an employment of refuse may be seen in the large machine 
works at Manchester, where mountains of iron turnings are 
carted away to the foundry in the evening, in order the next 
morning to re-appear in the workshops as solid masses of 
We have seen that the means of production transfer value to 
the new product t so far only as during the labour-process they 
lose value in the shape of their old use-value. The maximU1U 
loss of value that they can suffer in the process, is plainly 
limited by the amount of the original value vtith which they 
caIne into the process, or in other words, by the labour-time 
necessary for their production. Therefore, the means of pro- 
duction can never add more value to the product than they 
themselves possess independently of the process in which they 
assist. However useful a given kind of raw material t or a 
machine, or other means of production may be, though it 11lay 
cost æ150, or, saYt 500 days' labour, yet it ca,nnot, under any 
circumstances, add to the value of the product more than .f150. 
Its value is determined not by the labour-process into which it 
enters as a means of production, but by that out of which it has 
issued as a product. In the labour-process it only serves as a 
mere use-value, a thing with useful properties, and could not, 
therefore, transfer any value to the product, unless it possessed 
such value previously.1 
1 From this we may judge of the absurdity of J. B. SaYt who pretends to account 
for surplus-value (Interest t Profit, Rent), by the" services productifs" which the 
mea.WI of production t soil, instruments, and raw material, render in the labour-process 
by means of their use-values. Mr. Wm. Roscher who seldom loses an occasion of re- 
gistering, in black and white, ingenious apologetic fancies, records the following 
specimen :-" J. B. Say (Tra.ité, t. 1. ch. 4) very truly remarks: the value produced 
by an oil mill, after deduction of all costs, is something new, something quite different 
from the labour by which the oil mill itself was erected." (1. c., p. 82, note.) Very 
true, :Mr. Professor! the oil produced by the oil mill is iudeed something very different 
from the la.bour expended in constructing the mill! By value, Mr Roscher under- 
stands such stuff as " oil," because oil has Talue t notwithstanding that "Nature" pro- 
duces petroleum, though relatively" in small quantities," a fact to which he seems to 
refer in hiB further observation: "It (Nature) produces scarcely any exchange-value." 
Mr. Roscher's "Nature ,. and the exchange-value it produces are rather like the 
foolish virgin who admitted indeed that she had had a child, but" it was iuch a little 
one. " This" savant sérieux" in continuation remarks: "Ricardo's school is in the 
habit of including capital aa accumulated labour under the head of labour. This is 
unskilful work, because, indeed, the owner of capital, after all, does something more 
than the merely creating and presen'ing of the same: namelYt the abstention fl'om 

COlts/ant Caþital and Variable Caþital. 18 9 

'Vhile productive labour is changing the means of produc- 
tion into constituent elements of a new product, their value 
undergoes a metempsychosis. It deserts the consumed body, 
to orcupy the newly created one. But this transmigration 
takes place, as it were, behind the back of the labourer. He 
is unable to add new labour, to create new value, without a 
the same time preserving old values, and this, because th 
labour he adds must be of a specific useful kind: and he can- 
not do work of a useful kind, without employing producæ as 
the means of production of a new product, and thereby trans- 
ferring their value to the new product. The property there- 
fore which labour-power in act
on, living labour, possesses of 
preserving value, at the same timo that it adds it, is a gift of 
Nature which costs the labourer nothing, but which is very 
advantageous to the capitalist inasmuch as it preserves the 
existing value of his capita!.l So long as trade is good, the 
capitalist is too much absorbed in money-grubbing to take 
notice of this gratuitous gift of labour. A violent interruption 
of the labour-process by a crisis, makes him sensitively aware 
of it. s 
As regards the llleans of production, what is really consumed 
is their use-value, and the consumption of this use-value by labour 
the enjoyment of it, for which he demands, e.g., interest." (1. c.) How very "skil- 
ful "is this" anatomico-physiological method" of political economy, which, U indeed," 
converts a mere desire" after all" into a source of value. 
1 "Of all the instruments of the farmers' trade, the labour of man . . . is that on 
which he is most to rely for the repayment of his capital. The other two. . . the work- 
ing stock of the cattle and the . . . carts, ploughs, spades, and 80 forth, without a. 
given portion of the first, are nothing at all. " (Edmund Burke: "Thoughts anù D
tails on Scarcity, originally presented to the Right Hon. 'V. Pitt, in the month of 
November 1795," Edit. London, 1800, p. 10.) 
2 In "Tbe Times" of 26th November, 1862, a manufacturer, whose mill employed 
800 hands, a.nd consumed, on the average, 150 bales of East Indian, or 130 bales of 
American cotton, complainø, in doleful manner, of the standing expenses of his 
factory when not working. He estimates them at 
6,OOO a year. Among them are 
a number of item3 that do not concern us here, such as rent, rates, and taxcs, in- 
surance, salaries of the manager, book-keeper, engineer, and others. Then he reckons 
t150 for coal used to heat the mill occasionally, and run the engine now and then. 
Besides this, he includes the wages of the people employed at odd times to keep the 
machinery in working order. Lastly, he puts down 
1,200 for deprcciation (If 
machinery, because" the weather and the natural principle of decay do not suspend 
their operations because the steam-engine ceases to revolve." He says, emphatically, 
he does not estimate his depreciation at more tha.n the small Bum of ;Bl,200, because 
his machinery is already nearly worn out. 

19 0 

Caþitalist Productzon. 

results in the product. There is no consumption of their value,r 
and it would therefore be inaccurate to say that it is reproduced. 
It is rather preserved; not by reason of any operation it under- 
goes itself in the process; but because the article in ,vhich it 
originally exists, vanisheH, ft is true, but vanishes into some 
other article. Hence, in the value of the product, there is a 
re-appearance of the value of the means of production, but 
there is, strictly speaking, no reproduction of that value. That 
which is produced is a new use-value in which the old exchange- 
value re-appears.' 
It is otherwise with the subjective factor of the labour-pro- 
cegs, with labour-power in action. While the labourer, by 
virtue of his labour being of a specialised kind that has a 
special object, preserves and transfers to the product the value 
of the means of production, he at the same time, by the 1ne1'e 
act of working, creates each instant an additional or new value. 
Suppose the process of production to be stopped just when the 
workman has produced an equivalent for the value of his own 
labour-power, when, for example, by six hours' labour, he has 
added a value of three shillings. This value is the surplus, of 
the total value of tbe product, over the portion of its value 
that is due to the means of production. It is the on]y original 
bit of value formed during this process, the only portion of the 
value of the pruduct created by this process. Of course, we 

1 U Productive consumption . . . where the consumption of a commodity is a part of 
the process of l>roduction. . . . In the.c instancE's there is no con.umption of value. JJ 
(S. P. Newman,!. c. p. 293.) 
2 In an American compendium that has gone through, perhaplJ 20 editiolls, this 
passage occurs: "It matters not in what form capital Ie-appear. j" then a.fter a 
lengthy enumeration of all the possible ingredients of production whose value re- 
appears in the product J the p8.8sage concludes thus: "The various kinds of footi, 
clothing, and 8helter, necessary for the existence and comfort of thE' humall beiHg, 
are also changed. They are consumed from time to time, and their value re-appears 
in that new vigour imparted to his body and mind, forming fresh capital, to be em- 
ployed again in the work of production." (F. 'Vayland, 1. c. pp. 31, 3
) 'Vitliout 
noticing any other oddities, it suffices to obsen-e, that what re-appears in the fresh 
vigour, is not the bread's price, but its blood-forming substances. What, Oll the 
other hand, in the value of that vigour, is IIOt the means of subsistence, 
but their value. The same necessaries of life, at half the price, would form just a.s 
much muscle and bone, just a.s much vigour, but not vigour of the same value. This 
confusion of " va.lue " and" vigour " coupled with our author's pharisaical indefinite- 
ness, mark an attempt, futile for all that, to thrash out an explanation of surplus- 
value from a. mere re-appearance of pre-existing values. 

Constant Caþzlal and Variable Caþital. 19 1 

do not forget that this new value only replaces the money 
advanced by the capitalist in the purchase of the lahouJ'-po\ver J 
and spent by the labourer on the necessaries of life. With 
regard to the money spent J the new value is merely a repro- 
duction; but, nevertheless, it is an actual, and not J as in the 
case of the value of the means of production, only an apparent, 
reproduction. The substitution of one value for another, is 
here effected by the creation of new value. 
'Ve know, however, from what has gone before J that the 
labour- process may continue beyond the tilue necessary to re- 
produce and incorporate in the product a mere equivalent for 
the value of the labour-power. Instead of the six huurs that 
are sufficient for the latter purpose, the process nlay continue 
for twelve hours. The action of labour-power J therefore, not 
only reproduces its own value, but produces value over and 
above it. This surplus-value is the difference between the 
value of the product and the value of the elelnents consumed 
in the fonnation of that product, in other words, of the n1eanB 
of production and the labour-power. 
By our explanation of the different parts played by the vari- 
ous factors of the labour-process in the formation of the pro- 
duct's value, we have, in factJ disclosed the characters of the 
different functions allotted to the different eleUlents of capital 
in the process of expanding its own value. The surplus of the 
t< tal value of the product, over the sum of the values of its 
constituent factors, is the surplus of the expanded capital over 
the capital originally advanced. The means of production on 
the one hand, labour-power on the other, are merely the differ- 
ent mode
 of existence which the value of. the original capital 
assumed \vhen from being money it 'was tran
furmed into the 
various factors of the labour-process. That part of capital 
then, which is represented by the means of production, by the 
raw material, auxiliary material and the instruments of labour, 
does not, in the process of production, undergo any quantitative 
alteration uf value. I therefore can it the constant part of 
capital, or, mure shortly, constant capital. 
On the other hand, that part of capital, repre
.ented by 
labour-po\ver, does, in the process of production, undergo an 

T9 2 

Caþz'talz"st Production. 

alteration of value. It both reproduces the equivalent of its. 
own value, and also produces an excess, a surplus-value, ,vhich 
may itself vary, may be more or less according to circumstances. 
Thi& part of capita] is continually being transformed from a 
const.ant into a variable magnitude. I therefore call it the 
variable part of capital, or, shortly, variable capital. The same 
elements of capital which, from the point of view of the 
labour-process, present themselves respectively as the objective 
and subjective factors, as means of production and labour- 
11ower, present themselves, from the point of view of the pro- 
cess of creating surplus-value, as constant and variable capital. 
The definition of constant capital given above by no means 
excludes the possibility of a change of value in its elements. 
Suppose the price of cotton to be one day sixpence a pound,. 
and the next day, in consequence of a failure of the cotton crop, 
a shilling a pound. Each pound of the cotton bought at six- 
pence, and worked up after the rise in value, transfers to the 
product a value of one shilling; and the cotton already spun 
before the rise, and perhaps circulating in the market as yarn, 
likewise transfers to the product twice its original value. It 
is plain, however, that these changes of value are independent 
of the increment or surplus-value added to the value of the 
cotton by the spinning itself: If the old cotton had never 
been spun, it could, after the rise, be resold at a shilling a 
pound instead of at sixpence. Further, the fewer the processes 
the cotton has gone through, the more certain is this result. 
We therefore find that speculators make it a rule when such 
Budden changes in value occur, to speculate in that material on 
which the least possible quantity of labour has been spent: to 
speculate, therefore, in yarn rather than in cloth, in cotton it- 
seJf, rather than in yarn. The change of value in the case we 
have been considering, originates, not in the process in which the 
cotton pJays the part of a means of production, and in which it 
therefore functions as constant capital, but in the process in 
which the cotton itself is produced. The value of a commodity, 
it is true, is determined by tbe quantity of labour contained in 
it, but this quantity is itself limited by social conditions. If 
the time socially necessary for the production of any com. 

COllstallt Caþital alltl Variable Caþital. 193 

modity alters-and a given weight of cotton represents, after a 
bad harvest, more labour than after a good one-all previously 
existing commodities of the same cla
s are affected, because tltey 
are, as it were, only individuals of the species,t and their 
value at any given time is measured by the labour socially 
necessary, i.e., by the labour necessary for their production 
under the then existing social conditions. 
As the value of the raw material may change, so, too, Inay 
that of the instruments of labour, of the machinery, &c., em- 
ployed in the process; and consequently that portion of the 
value of the product transfen'ed to it from them, may also 
change. If in consequence of a new invention, machinery of a 
particular kind can be produced by a diminished expenùiture 
of labour, the old machinery becomes depreciated more or les
and consequently transfers so much less value to the product 
But here again, the change in value originates outside the 
process in ,vhich the machine is acting as a means of pro- 
duction. Once engaged in this process, the machine cannot 
transfer more value than it possesses apart from the process. 
Just as a change in the value of the means of pro- 
duction, even after they have commenced to take a part in the 
labour process, does not alter their character as con::;tant 
capital, so, too, a change in the proportion of cOIlBtant to 
variable capital does not affect the respective functions of these 
two kinds of capital. The technical conditions of the labour 
process may be revolutionised to such an extent, that where 
formerly ten men using ten implements of smaH value worked 
up a relative]y small quantity of raw material, one man may 
now, with the aid of one expensive machine, work up one 
hundred times as much raw material. In the latter case we 
have an enormous increase in the constant capital, that is re- 
presented by the total value of the means of production used, 
and at the same time a great reduction in the variable capita], 
invested in labour-power. Such a revolution, however, alter
only the quantitative relation between the constant and the 

1 "Toutes les productions d'un même genre ne forment proprement qu 'une maMe, 
dont le prix se dètermine en général et sans égard aux circonsta.nces varticulièreA." 
(Le Trosne. 1. c., p. 893.) 



Caþitalist Production. 

variable capital, or the proportions in which the total capital 
\8 split up into its constant and variable constituents; it bas 
Dot in t.he least degree affected the es
ential difference Let\veen 
the two. 




THE surplus-value generated in the process of production by 0, 
the capital advanced, or in other words, the self-expansion of 
the value of the capital 0, presents itself for our consideration, 
in the first place, as a surplus, as the amount by \vhich the 
value of the product exceeds the value of its constituent 
The capital C is made up of t\VO components, one, the surn 
of money c laid out upon the means of production, and the 
other, the sum of money v expended upon the labour-po\ver ; 
c represents the portion that has become constant capital, and 
v the portion that has become variable capital. At first theIl, 
C=c+v: for example, if 
500 is the capital advanced, its COln- 
ponents may be such that the æ500=.f410 const.+
90 val'. 
When the process of production is finished, we get a conl- 
modity whose value=(c+v)+s, where s is the surplus-value; 
or taking our former figures, the value of this conunodity D1ay 
be (æ410 const.+f90 var.)+æ90 surpI. The original capital 
has now changed from C to 0', from i500 to .f5ÐO. The differ- 
ence is s or a surplus value of æ90. Since the value of tLe 
constituent elelnents of the product is equal to the value of 
the advanced capital, it is mere tautology to say, that the ex- 
cess of the value of the product over the value of its constitu- 
ent elelnents, is equal to the expansion of the capital advanced 
or to the surplus-value produced. 
Nevertheless, ,ve must examine this tautology a little D10re 

The Rate 0./ Szerþlus- 'alue. 


closely. 'rhe t\VO things compared are, the value of the pro- 
duct. and the value of its constituents consumed in the process 
of production. Now we have seen how that portion of the 
constant capital which consists of the instruments of labour, 
transfers to the product only a fraction of its va] ue, while the 
remainJer of that value continues to reside in tlJose instru- 
ments. Since this remainder plays no part in the forrnation of 
value, we may at present leave it on one side. To introduce it 
illto the calculation would make no difference. For in::)tance, 
taking our fonner example, c=.;ß410: suppose this SUIn to con- 
sist of .!312 value of raw material, .!44 value of auxiliary 
material, and æ.54 value of the Inachinery ,vorn a\vay in the 
process; and suppose that the total value of the machinery 
eæployeù is .!1,054. Out of this latter sum, then, we reckon 
as advanced for the purpose of turning out the product, the 
sum of cß54 alone, which the machinery loses by wear and 
tear in the process; for this is all it parts with to the product. 
No\v if we also rE'ckon the remaining cßl,OOO, which still con- 
tinues in the nlachinery, as transferred to the product, we 
oU6'ht also to reckon it as part of the value aùvancecl, and thus 
make it appear on both sides of our calculation. l \Ve should, 
in this way, get .!l,500 on one side and .!1,590 on the other. 
The difference of these two sums, or the surplus-value, would 
still be .!DO. Throughout this Book therefore, by constant 
capital advanced for the production of value, we always mean, 
unless the context is repugnant thereto, the value of the means 
of production actually consumed in the process, and tlJat value 
'rhis being so, let us return to the formula C=.c+v, which 
we saw was transformed into (Y (c+v)+s, C beco,ning 0'. 
'Ve know that the value of the constant capital is transferred 
to, and merely re-appears in the product. The new value 
actually created in the process, the value produced, or value- 
product, is therefore not the same as the value of the product; 
it is not, as it would at first sight appear (c+v)+s or æ410 

1 U If we reckon the value of the fixed capital employed as a part of the advanceu, 
1J'e must reckon t
e remaining value of such capital at the end of the year as a IJart 
()f the annual returns." (1\1althus, "Prine. of Pol. Econ." 2nd ed., I.JOnù., 183G, p. 269.) 

19 6 

Caþitalist Productio1l. 

const. + .E90 var. + Æ90 surpI.; but v + s or L90 var.+.t90 surpL 
not .t590 but æ180. If c=o, or in other words, if there were 
branches of industry in which the capitalist could dispense 
with all means of production made by previous labour, whether 
they be raw material, auxiliary material, or instruments of 
labour, employing only labour-power and materials supplied 
by Nature, in that case, there would be no constant capital to 
transfer to the product. This component of the value of the 
product, i.e., the .f410 in our example, would be eliminated,. 
but the sum of ..eISO, the amount of ne\v value created, or the 
value produced, which contains .f90 of surplus-value, would 
remain just as great as if c represented the highest value 
imaginable. We 
hould have ü= (O+v)=v or 0' the expanded 
capital=v+s and therefore C' -C=s as before. On the other 
hand, if s=O, or in other words, if the labour-power, whose 
value is advanced in the form of variable capital, were to pro- 
duce only its equivalent, we should have C=c+v or C' the 
value of the product=(c+v)+O or C=O'. The capital advanced 
would, in this case, not have expanded its value. 
From what has gone before, we know that surplus-value is 
purely the result of a variation in the value of v, of that portion 
of the capital which is transformed into labour-power; con- 
sequently, v + s = v + v' or v plus an increment of v. But the 
fact that it is valone that varies, and the conditions of that 
variation, are obscured by the circumstance that in consequence 
of the increase in the variable component of the capital, there 
is also an increase in the sum total of the advanced capital. It 
was originally æ500 and becomes ..t590. Therefore in order 
that our investigation may lead to accurate results, we must 
make abstraction from that portion of the value of the pro- 
duct, in which constant capital alone appears, and consequently 
must equate the constant capital to zero or make c = O. This 
is merely an application of a mathematical rule, employed 
,yhenever we operate with constant and va.riable magnitudes, 
related to each other by the symbols of addition and sub- 
traction only. 
A further difficulty is caused by the original form of the 
.ariahle capital. In our exalnple, C'= .f410 canst. + .f90 var 

The Rate of Surþlus-'l/allle. 


+ .fUO BurpI.; bu t .t90 is a given and therefore a constant 
quantity; hence it appears absurd to treat it as variable. But 
ill fact, the term .f:90 val'. is here merely a 
Ylnbol to show that 
this value undergoes a process. The portion of the capital in- 
vested in the purcha.<)e of labour-po,ver is a definite quantity of 
Inaterialised labour, a constant value like the value of the 
labour-power purchased. But in the process of production the 
place of the f:DO is taken by the labour-power in action, dead 
labour is replaced by living labour, something stagnant by 
sOll1ething flowing, a constant by a variaùle. The result is the 
reproduction of v plus an increment of v. FroIn the point of 
y iew then of capitalist production, the ,vhole process appears 
as the spontaneous variation of the originally constant value. 
which is transformed into labour-power. Both the process and 
its result, appear to be o,ving to this value. If, therefore, such 
expressions as u æDO variable capital," or (I so much self- 
expanding value," appear contradictory, this is only because 
they bring to the surface a contradiction immanent in capitalist 
At first sight it appears a strange proceeding, to equate tho 
constant capital to zero. Yet it is what \ve do every day. If, 
for example, ,ve ,vish to calculate the amount of England's 
profits from the cotton industry, ,ve first of all deduct the sums 
paid for cotton to the United States, India, Egypt and other 
countries; in other words, the value of the capital that merely 
re-appears in the value of the prorluct, is put = O. 
Of course the ratio of surplus-value not only to that portion 
{)f the capital from which it immediately springs, and whose 
change of value it represents, but also to the sum tutal of the 
capital advanced is economically of very great importance. 
\Ye shall, therefore, in the third book, treat of this ratio ex- 
haustively. In order to enable one portion of a capital to ex- 
pand its value by being converted into labour-power, it is 
necessary that another portion be converted into means of pro- 
duction. In order that variable capital may perform its 
function, constan t ca pi tal must be ad vanced in proper proportion. 
a proportion given by the special technical conditions of each 
labour-process. The circumstance, however, that retorts and 

19 8 

Cabitalist Pror/ltcliott. 

other vessels, are necessary to a chemical process, does not 
compel the chen1ist to notice them in the result of his analysis. 
If we look at the nleans of production, in their relation to the 
creation of value, and to the variation in the quantity of value, 
apart from anything else, they appear silnply as the material 
in which labour-po,ver, the value-creator, incorporates itself. 
Neither the nature, nor the value of this material is of allY 
importance. The only requisite is that there be a sufficient 
supply to absorb the labour expended in the process of pro- 
duction. That supply once given, the material may rise or 
fall in value, or even be, as land and the sea, "\vithout any value 
in itself; but this win have no influence on the creation of value 
or on the variation in the quantity of value. 1 
In the first place then we equate the constant capital to zero. 
The capital advanced is consequently reduced from c+v to v, 
and instead of the value of the product (c+v)+s ,ve have now 
the value produced (v+s). Given the new value produced =: 
f:180, ,vhich sum consequently represents the whole labour ex- 
pended during the process, then subtracting from it .f90 the 
value of the variable capital, we have remaining .f90, the. 
amount of the surplus-value. This sum of f90 or s expresses 
the absolute quantity of surplus-value produced. The relative 
quantity produced, or the per cent of the variable 
capital, is detennined, it is plain, by the ratio of the surplus- 
value to the variable capital, or is expressed by;. In our- 
exalnple this ratio is 

, "Thich gives an increase of 100 %
This relative increase in the value of the variable capital, or- 
thè relative magnitude of the surplus-value, I call, "The rate 
of surplus-value." 
vVe have seen that the labourer, during one portion of the 
labour-process, produ
es only the value of his labour-po,ver
that is, the value of his 111eans of su bsistence. Now since his 

1 \Vhat Lucretius says is self-evident; "nil posse creari de nihilo," out of notIling
nothing can he crp3ted. Creation of value is transformation of labour-power into 
labour. Labour-power itself is energy transferred to a human organism by means oC 
nourishing matter. 
2 In the same way that the English use the terms "rate of profit," "mtcuf in- 
terest." 'Ve shall see, in Book IlL, that the rate of profit is no mystery, 80 soon as 
we know the laws oÏ surplus-value. If W
 rcverse the process, we -:annot compre- 
hend either tbe one or the other. 

17te Rate of Surplus-value. 


wOl"k forms part of a system, based on tùe social division of 
labour, he does not directly produce the actual necessaries 
,\rh ich he himself consumes; he produces instead a particular 
COlTIrl1odity, yarn for example, ,vhose value is equal to the 
value of those necessaries or of the money with which they 
can be bought. The portion of his day's labour devoted to 
this purpose, will be greater or less, in proportion to the value 
of the necessaries that he daily requires on an average, or, 
,vhat alnounts to the saIne thing, in proportion to the labour- 
time required on an average to produce them. If the value 
of those necessaries represent on an average the expenditure 
of six hours' labour, the workman must on an average \vork 
for six hours to produce that value. If instead of working for 
the capitalist, he worked independently on his o\vn account, he 
,vould, other things being equal, still be obliged to labour for 
the same number of hours, in orde'r to produce the value of 
his labour-power, and thereby to gain the means of subsistence 
necessary for his conservation or continued reproduction. But 
as we have seen, during that portion of his day's labour in 
which he produces the value of his labour-power, say three 
shiHings, he produces only an equivalent for the value of Lis 
labour-power already advanced by the capit.alist; the Dew 
value created only replaces the variable capital advanced. It 
is o\ving to this fact, that the production of the ne\v value of 
three shiUings takes the semblance of a mere reproduction. 
That portion of the working day, then, during which this re- 
production take place, I call Ie necessary" labour-time, and the 
labour expended during that time I call C( necessary" labour. 1 
Necessary, as regards the labourer, because independent of the 
particular social form of his labour; necessary, as regards 
capital, and the world of capitalists, because on the continued 
existence of the labourer depends their existence also. 
During the second period of the labour-process, that in 
1 In this work, we have, up to now, employed the term" necessary labour-time," to 
designate the time necessary under given social conditions for the production of any 
uommodity. Henceforward we use it to designate also the time necessary for the 
production of the particular commodity labour-power. The use of one and the same 
technical term in different senses is inconvenient, but in no science can it be 
altogether avoided., for instance, the higher with the lower branches of 



C aþ ita/ist P 1'''Otluc tio1l. 

which his labour is no longer necessary labour, the workman, 
it is true, labours, expends labour-power; but his labour, being 
no longer nece
sary labour, he creates no value for himself: 
He creates surplus-value which, for the capitalist, has all the 
charms of a creation out of nothing. This portion of the 
,vorking day, I name surplus labour-time, and to the labour 
expended during that time, I give the name of surplus-labour. 
It is every bit as important, for a correct understanding of 
surplus-value, to conceive it as a mere congelation of surplus- 
labour-time, as nothing but materialised surplus-labour, as it 
is, for a proper comprehension of value, to conceive it as a mere 
congelation of so lllany hours of labour, as nothing but lua- 
terialised labour. The es
ential difference bet\veen the various 
economic forms of society, between, for instance, a society 
based on slave labour, and one based on wage labour, lies only 
in the mode in which this surplus-labour is in each case ex- 
tracted from the actual producer, the labourer. l 
Since, on the one hand, the values of the variable capital 
and of the labour-power purchased by that capital are equal, 
and the value of this labour-power determines the npcessary 
portion of the working day; and since, on the other hand, the 
surplus-value is determined by the surplus portion of the 
,vorking day, it follows that surplus-value bears the saIne ratio 
to variable capital, that surplus-labour does to necessary labour, 
or in other words the rate of sur p lus-value! == BUI]J!U!la bour 
, y ncce!!sary labour' 
Both ratios ! and lIu

bC?ur ex p ress the same thinO' in different 
, 1" neCí'8l1ary la.bour' 0 
ways ; in the one case by reference to materialised, incorporated 
labour, in the other by reference to liying, fluent labour. 
The rate of surplus-value is therefore an exact expression 

1 Herr Wilhelm Thucydides Roscher has found a. mare's nest. He has made the 
important discovery that if, on the one hanel, the formation of surplus-value, or 
surplus-produce, ßnd the consequent accumulation of capital, is now-a-days due to 
the thrift of the capi.talist, on the other hand, in the lowest stages of civilisation it is 
the strong who compel the weak to economise (1. c. p. 78). To economÏse what? 
Labour? Or súperfluous wealth that docs not exist? 'Vh.\.t is it that makes such 
men 8.S Roscher account for the origin of surplus-value, by a mere rpchauffê of the 
more or less plausible excuscs by the capitalist, for his appropriation of surplus-value? 
It is, besides their real ignorance, their apologetic dread of a scientific analysis of 
value and surplus-value, and of obtaining a result, possibly not altogether palatable 
to the powers that be. 

7 he Rate of Surþllls-valzte. 


for the degree of exploitation of labour-po,ver by capital, or of 
the labourer by the capitalist. l 
\Ye assumed in our example, that the value of the product 
==.f410 const. + .f90 Yar. + .f:90 surp!., and that the capital 
advanced == .f:500. Since the 8urpll1s-value == .f:90, and the ad- 
vanced capital = .f:500, ,ve should, according to the usual way 
of reckoning, get as the rate of surplus value (generally con- 
founded ,vith rate of profits) 18%, a rate so low as possibly 
to cause a pleasant surpri:'3e to 
Ir. Carey and other harmun- 
isers. But in truth, the rate of surplus-value is not equal 
 or -
 but to .!. : thus it is not N but f8 or 100 %0 ' ,vhich 
is more than five times the apparent degree of exploitation. 
Although, in the case W6 have supposed, we are ignorant of 
the actual length of the working day, and of the duration in 
days or weeks of the labour-process, as also of the number of 
labourers employed, yet the rate of surplus-value 
discloses to us b y means of its e q uivalent ex p re
bion lurplus labour 
, 'n
the relation between the two parts of the working day. This 
relation is here one of equality, the rate being 100%. Hence, 
it is plain, the labourer, in our example, works one half of the 
day for himself, tho other half for the capitalist. 
The method of calculating the rate of surplus-value is there- 
fore, shortly, as follows. We take the total value of the product 
and put the constant capital which merely re-appears in it, 
equal to zero. \Vhat relnains, is the only value that has, in the 
process of prollucing the commodity, been actually created. If 
the alDount of surplus-value be given, we have only to deduct 
it from this remainder, to find the variable capital. And vice 
versâ, if the latter be given, and we require to find the surplus- 
value. If both be given, ,ve have only to perform the conclud- 
ing operation, viz., to calc
-, the ratio of the surplus-value 
to the variable capital. 
1 Although the ra.te of surplus-value is an exact expression for the degree of ex- 
ploitation of labour-power, it is, in no sense, an expression for the absolute amount 
of exploitation. For example, if the necessary labour :=:= 5 hours and the surplus- 
labour --= 5 hours, the degree of exploitation is lOO/.:. The amount of exploitation ii 
here measured by 5 hours. If, on the other hand, the necessary labour = 6 hours 
and the surplus-labour = 6 hours, the degree of exploitation remains, as befors, 
100%" while the actual amount of exploitation has increased 20\ namely from flv" 
.hour 8 to six. 


Caþitalist Prod,ltc/ion. 

Though the method is so simple, yet it may not be amiss, by 
means of a few exampleg, to exercise the reader in the applica- 
tion of the novel principles underlying it. 
First we ,vill take the case of a spinning mill containing 
10,000 mule spindles, spinning No. 32 yarn from American 
cotton, and producing lIb. of yam weekly per spindle. We 
as!õJume the waste to be 6 %: under these circumstances 10,600 
IbR. of cotton are consumed weekly, of which 600 Ibs. go to 
wc:tste. The price of the cotton in April, 1871, ,vas 7;fd. per 
lb.; the raw material therefore costs in round numbers .f342. 
The 10,000 spindles, including preparation-machinery, and 
motive power, cost, we will assume, Æl per spindle, amounting 
to a total' of 
10,000. The wear and tear we put at 10 %, or 
.t1000 yearly = f20 weekly. The rent of the building we 
suppose to be .f300 a year, or.f6 a week. Coal consumed (for 
100 horse-power indicated, at 41bs. of coal per horse-power per 
hour during 60 hours, and inclusive of that consulned in heating 
the mill), 11 tons a week at 8R. 6d. a ton, amounts to about f:4 1 1 
a week: gas, 
1 a week, oil,&c.,f4! a week. Total cost of the above 
auxilia,ry materials, 
10 weekly. Therefore the constant portion 
of the value of the week's product is .f378. Wages amount 
to .E52 a week. The price of the yarn is 121d. per lb., which 
gives for the value of 10,000 Ibs. the sum of f510. The surplus 
value is therefore in this case 
510 - f430 = .f80. We put 
the constant part of the value of the product = 0) as it plays 
no part in the creation of value. There remains .f132 as the 
weekly value created, which = .f52 var. Æ80 Burpi. The 
rate of surplus-value is therefore!
 = 153H %. In a \vorking 
day of 10 hours with average labour the result is: necessary 
labour = 3H hours, and surplus-labour = 61-s-. 1 
One more example. Jacob gives the following calculation for 
the year 1815. Owing to the previous adjustment of several 
items it is very imperfect; nevertheless for our purpose it is 
sufficient. In it he assumes the price of wheat to be 8s. a 
quarter, and the average yield per acre to be 22 bushels. 

1 The above data, which may be relied upon, were given me by a l\Ianchester spinner. 
In England the horse-power of an engine was formerly calculated from the di3.meter 
of its cylinder, now the actual horse-power shown by the indicator is taken. 

The l
ate of Surþlus-value. 20 3 
Seed, æl 9 0 I Tithes, Rates, and 
1fanure, 2 ]0 0 Taxes, - - Æl 1 0 
'Yacres 3 10 0 Rent, 1 8 0 
o , 
Farmer's Profit anJ 
Interest, 1 2 0 
Total, - .t7 9 0 Total, - æ3 11 0 

.Assuming that the price of the pro(luct ia the same as its 
value, we here find the surplus-value distributed under the 
various beaùs of profit. interest, rent, &c. '\Ve have nothing to 
do \vith these in detail; we simply add them together, :Lud the 
sum is a surplus-value of.t3 lIs. Ode The sum of ..e3 IDs. Od., 
paid for seed and manure, is con<;;tant capital, and we put it 
equal to zero. There is left the sum of .t3 lOSe Od., which is 
tIle variable capital advanced: and we see that a new value of 
æ3 10::;. Où. + .f:3 lIs. Od. has been produced in its place. 
Therefore i- = {: 

: , giving a rate of surplus-value of more 
than 100 %. The labourer employs more than one half of his 
\vol'king day in producing the surplus-value, \vhich different 
persons, under different pretex.ts, share amongst themselves.! 



Let us now return to the example by ,vhich we were sho\vn 
how the capitalist converts money into capital. 
The product of a working day of 12 hours is 20 lbs. of yam, 
having a value of 30s. No less than &ths of this value, or 24s., 
is due to mere re-appearance in it, of the value of the means of 
production (20 lbs. of cotton, value 208., and spindle worn a,vay, 
4s.): it is therefore constant capital. The remaining 
-thR or 
6s. is the new value created during the spinning process: of 
1 The calculations given in the text are intended merely as illustrations. We have 
In fact assumed that prices = values. We shall, however, see, in nook III., thatJ 
even in the case of average prices the assumption cannot be made in this very simple 

20 4 

Caþitallst Production. 

this one half replaces the value of the day's labour-po\ver, or the 
variable capital, the remaining half constitutes a surplus-value 
Df 3s. The total value then of the 20 Ibs. of yarn is made up 
as follows: 
30s. value of yarn = 248. const. + 3s. val'. + 38. surpl. 
Since the whole of this value is contained in the 20 lbs. of 
yarn produced, it follows that the various component parts of 
this value, can be represented as being contained respectively 
in corresponding parts of the product. 
If the value of 30s. is contained in 20 Ibs. of yarn, then :0 ths 
of this value, or the 24s. that form its constant part, is con- 
tained in iö ths of the product or in 16 lbs. of yarn. Of the 
latter 13! Ibs. rel'resent the value of the raw material, the 20s. 
worth of cotton spun, and 21 lbs. represent the 4s. worth of 
spindle, &c., ,vorn away in the process. 
Hence the ,vhole of the cotton used up in spinning the 20 
Ibs. of yarn, is represented by 13! Ibs. of yarn. This latter 
weight of yarn contains, it is true, by weight, no more than 13! 
Ibs. of cotton, worth 13! shillings; but the 6
 shillings additional 
value contained in it, are the equivalent for the cotton consumed 
in spinning the remaining OJ Ibs. of yarn. The effect is the 
same as if these 61 Ibs. of yarn contained no cotton at all, and 
the whole 20 Ibs. of cotton were concentrated in the 13! lbs. of 
yarn. The latter weight, on the other hand, does not contain 
an atom either of the value of the auxiliary Inaterials and imple- 
rnents, or of the value newly created in the process. 
In the same way, the 21 Ibs. of yarn, in which the 48., the re- 
mainder of the constant capital, is embodied, represents nothing 
but the value of the auxiliary materials and instruments of 
labour consumed in producing the 20 Ibs. of yarn. 
We have, therefore, alTived at this result: although eight- 
tenths of the product, or 16 Ibs. of yarn, is, in its character of 
an article of utility, just as much the fabric of the spinner's 
labour, as the remainder of the san1e product, yet when viewed 
in this connexion, it does not contain, and has not absorbed 
any labour expended during the process of spinning. It is just 
as if the cotton had converted itself into yarn, ,vithout help; 
as if the shape it had assulned ,vas mere trickery and deceit: 

The Rate of Surpllts-value. 

20 5 

for so soon as our capita!ist selh it for 
4s., and with the money 
replaces his means of production, it becomes evident that this 
161bs. of yarn is nothing more than so much cotton and spindle- 
waste in disguise. 
On the other hand, the remaining -:0 ths of the product, or 4 
1bs. of yarn, represent nothing but the new value of 6s., created 
during the 12 hours' spinning process. All the value trans- 
ferred to those 4 Ibs., from the raw material and instruments 
of labour consumed, was, so to say, intercepted in order to be 
incorporated in the 16 lbs. first spun. In this case, it is as if 
the spinner had spun 4 Ibs. of yam out of air, or, as if he had 
spun them with the aid of cotton and spindles, that, being the 
spontaneous gift of Nature, transferred no value to the product. 
Of this 4 lbs. of yarn, in which the whole of the value newly 
created during the process, is condensed, one half represen ts 
the equivalent for the value of the labour consumed, or the :]:->. 
yariable capital, the other half represents the 3s. surplus-value. 
Since 12 working hours of the spinner are embodied in us., 
it follows that in yarn of the value of 30s., there must be em- 
bodie(l 60 working hours. And this quantity of labour-time 
does in fact exist in the 20 Ibs. of yarn; for in Toths or 16 1bs. 
there are materialised the 48 hours of labour expended, before 
the conlmencement of the spinning process, on the means of 
production; and in the remaining ïÒths or 4 lbs. there are 
materialised the 12 hours' work done during the process itselí 
On a former page we saw that the value of the yarn is equal 
to the sum of the new value created during the production of 
that yarn plus the value previously existing in the means of 
It has now been shown how the various component parts of 
the value of the product, parts that differ functionally from 
each other, may be represented by corresponding proportional 
parts of the product itself. 
To split up in this manner the product into different parts, 
of which one represents only the labour previously spent on 
the means of production, or the constant capital, another, only 
the necessary labour spent during the process of production, or 
the variable capital, and another and last part, only the surplus- 


Capitalist Pro{iuctzo1l. 

labour expended during the saIne proces
 or the surp]us-value ; 
to do this, is, as will be seen later on from it
 application tv 
complicated and hitherto unsolved probleills, no less impor- 
tant than it is simple. 
In the preceding investigation we have treated the total 
product as the final result, ready for use, of a working day of 
12 hours. We can however follow this total product through 
all the stages of its production; and in this ,yay we shall 
arrive at the same result as before, if we represent the partial 
products, given off at the different stages, as functionally 
different parts of the final or total product. 
The spinner produces in 12 hours 20 Ib
. of yarn, or in 1 
hour Ii Ibs.; consequently he produceß in 8 hours 13! Ibs., or 
a partial product equal in value to all the cotton that is SPU:l 
in a whole day. In like n1anner the partial product of th
next period of 1 hour and 36 n1Ïnutes, is 2i Ibs. of yarn: thi;") 
represents the value of the instruments of labour that are cori- 
sumed in 12 hours. In the following hour and 12 n1Ïnutè:') 
the spinner produces 21bs. of yarn worth 3 shillings, 3, valuè 
equal to the whole value he creates in his 6 hours necessary 
labour. Finally, in the last hour and 12 minutes he produce;") 
another 2 Ibs. of yarn, whose value is equal to the surplu
value, created by his surp]us-labour during half a day. Thi:s 
method of calculation serves the English manufacturer for 
everyday use; it shows, he will say, that in the fj
st 8 hours, 
or i of the workiug day, he gets back the value of his cotton; 
and so on for the remaining hours. It is also a perfectl y 
correct method: being in fact the first method given above 
with this difference, that instead of being appHed to space, in 
which the different parts of the completed product lie side by 
side, it deals with time, in ,vhich those parts at e succes
i vely 
produced. But it can also be accompanied by very barbarian 
notions, more especially in the heads of those "\" ho are as IUll,- b 
interested, practically, in the process of making value beget 
value, as they are in misunderstanding that process theoreti- 
cally. Such people may get the notion into their heads, that 
our spinner, for example, produces or replaces in the llrst 
hours of his working day the value of the cotton; in tIle 

The Rate of Sztrþlus-value. 


follo\vinO' hour and :3G n1inutes the vl.-due of the instl'urnents of 
labour ,vorn a\vay; in the next hour and 12 minutes the va!t:æ 
of the \vages; and that he devotes to the production of surplus- 
value for the manufacturer, only that well known "la
t hour." 
In this way the poor spinner is made to perfornl the t \vo-fold 
miracle not only of producing cotton, spindles, stealn-engine, 
coal, oil, &c., at the same time that he spins with them, but 
nIso of turning one working Jay into five; for, in the exaulple 
,yeareconsidering, the production of the raw material and in
Incuts of labour deulanJs four ,vorking days of twelve hours 
each, and their conversion into yarn requires another such Jay. 
That the love of lucre induces an easy belief in such Iniracles, 
and that sycophant doctrinaires are never wanting to prove 
theIn, is vouched for by the following incident of historical 


One fine morning, in the year 1836, Nassau W. Senior, ,vho 
may be called the bel-esprit of English economists, ,veIl known, 
alike for his economical "science," and for his beautiful style, 
,vas sumlnoned from Oxford to Manchester, to learn in the 
latter place, the political economy that he taught in the former. 
The manufacturers elected him as their champion, not only 
against the newly passed Factory Act, but against the still 
1110l'e menacing Ten-hours' agitation. \Yith their usua] practical 
acuteness, they had found out that the learned Professor 
" \vanted a good deal of finishing;" it was this discovery that 
caused them to write for him. On his side the ProfeHsor has 
elnbodied the lecture he received from the Manchester manu- 
facturers, in a pamphlet, entitled: U Letters on the Factory 
Act, as it affects the cotton manufacture." London, 1837. 
Here we find, amongst others, the following edifying passage: 
U Under the present law, no mill in \vhich persons under 18 
years of age are employed, can be \vorked more 
than II! hours a day, that is, 12 hours for 5 days in the week, 
and nine on Saturday. 
., Now the following analysis (!) will show that in a mill so 

Caþitalist Production,. 
worked, the whole net profit is derived from the last lWU1'. I 
will suppose a manufacturer to invest J3100,OOO :-.t80,OOO in 
his n1ill and machinery, and æ20,OOO in raw material and wages. 
The annual return of that mill, supposing the capital to be 
turned once a year, and gross profits to be 15 per cent., ought 
to be goods worth æI15,OOO. Of this æl15,OOO, 
each of the twenty-three half-hours of work produces 5-115ths 
or one t,venty-third. Of these 23-23rds (constituting tho \vhole 
.t115,OOO) twenty, that is to say .!lOO,OOO out of the æl15,OOOt 
sÏInply replace the capital ;-one twenty-third (or æ5000 out 
of the Æl15,OOO) nlakes up for th
. deterioration of the mill and 
machinery. The remaining 2-23rds, that is, the last two of the 
twenty-three half-hours of every day, produce the net profit of 
10 per cent. If, therefore (prices remaining the same), the 
factory could be kept at work thirteen hours instead of eleven 
and a half, with an addition of about Æ2600 to the circulating 
capital, the net profit would be more than doubled. On the 
other hand, if the hours of working ,vere reduced by one hour 
per day (prices remaining the same), the net profit would be 
destroyed-if they were reduceà by one hour and a half, even 
the gross profit ,vould be destroyed." 1 
1 Senior,!. c., p. 12, 13. We let pass such extraordinary notions as are of no im- 
portance for our purpose; for instance, the a.ssertion, that manufacturers reckon as 
part of their profit, gross or net, the amount required to make good wear and tear of 
machinery, or in other words, to replace a part of the capital. So. too, we pass over 
any question as to the accuracy of his figures. Leonard Horner has shown in " A 
Letter to Mr. Senior," &c., London, 1837, that they are worth no more than the so- 
called" Analysis." Leonard Horner was one of the Factory Inquiry Commissioners 
in 1833, and Inspector, or rather Censor of Factories till 1859. He rendered undying 
service to the English working class. lIe carried on a life-long contest, not only 
with the embittered manufacturers, but also with the Cabinet, to whom the number 
of votes given by the masters in the Lower House, was a matter of far greater impor- 
tance than the number of hours worked by the" hands" in the mills. 
Apart from errors in principle, Senior's statement is confused. What he really in- 
tended to say was this: The manufacturer employs the workman for 11
 hours or for 
23 half-hours daily. As the working day, so, too, the working year, may be conceived 
to consist of 11
 hours or 23 half-hours, but each multiplied by the number of working 
days in the year. On this supposition, the 23 half-hours yield an annual product of 

115,OOO j one half-hour yields -J.. x :ß1] 5,000 j 20 half-hours yield t-R x 
= :ß100,OOO, i.e., they replace no more than the capital advanced. There remain 3 half- 
hours, which yield l-s x 
115,OOO=,ß15,OOO or the gross profit. Of these 8 half-hours, one 
yields -h x .ß115,OOO = 
5000; i.e., it makes up for the wear and tear of the 
machinery; the remaining 2 half-hours, i.e., the last hour, yield -1. x 
115,OOO =- 

10,OOO or the net profit. In the text Senior converts the last 
\ of the product 
portions of the working day itself. 


The Rate 0.1 Suyþl#s-value. 

20 9 

And the professor caHs thi!i an "analysis! tt If, givIng 
credence to the out-cries of the manufacturers, he believed that 
the workmen spend the best part of the day in the production, 
i.e., the reproduction or replacement of the value of the builù- 
ings, Inachinery, cotton, coal, &c., then his analysis was super- 
fluous. His answer would simply have been :-Gentlelnen ! 
if you work your mills for 10 hours instead of 11
, then, other 
things being equal, the daily consumption of cotton, lllachinery, 
&c., ,viII decrease in proportion. You gain just as llluch as 
you lose. Your work-people will in future spend one hour 
and a half less time in reproducing or replacing the capital 
that has been advanced.-If, on the other Land, he did not 
believe them without further inquiry, but, as being an expert 
in such matters, deemed an analysis necessary, then he ought, 
in a question that is concerned exclusively with the relations 
of net profit to the length of the working day, before all things 
to have asked the manufacturers, to be careful not to lump 
together machinery, work:::>hops, raw material, and labour, but 
to be good enough to place the constant capital, invested iu 
buildings, machinery, raw material, &c., on one side of the 
account, and the capital advanced in wages on the other siùe. 
If the professor then found, that in accordance with the calcu- 
lation of the manufacturers, the workman reproduced or re- 
placed his "Tages in 2 half-hours, in that case, he should have 
continued his analysis thus: 
According to your figures, the workman in the last hour but 
one produces his wages, and in the last hour your surplus- 
value or net profit. N ow, since in equal periods he produce
equal values, the produce of the last hour but one, must have 
the same value as that of the last hour. Further, it is only 
,vhile he labours that he produces any value at all, and the 
amount of his ]abour is lueasured by his labour-tÌlne. Thi
you say, amounts to lIt hours a day. He employs one portion 
of these 11 i hours, in producing or replacing his wages, and the 
remaining portion in producing your net profit. Beyond this he 
does ab
olutely nothing. But since, on your assumption, his 
,vages, and the surplus-value he yields, are of equal value, it 
is clear that he produces his wages in 5i hours, and your net 


Caþitalist Prodztctiol'z. 

profit in the other 5-1 hours. Again, since the 
 alue of the 
yarn produced in 2 hours, is equal to the sum of the values of 
his \vages and of your net profit, the measure of the value ùf 
this yarn must be ll
 working hours, of which 5-1 hours 
Uleasure the value of the yarn produced in the last hour but 
one, and 5f, the value of the yarn produced in the last hour. 
\Ve now COine to a ticklish point; therefore, attention! The 
last working hour but ono is, like the first, an ordinary ,vorking 
hour, neither more nor less. How then can the spinner pro- 
duce in one hour, in the shape of yarn, a value that. embodie
5! hours labour? The truth is that he performs no such 
miracle. The use-value produced by him in one hour, is a 
definite quantity of yarn. The value of this yarn is n1easured 
by 5t working hours, of which 4i were, without any assistance 
froin him, previously embodied in the means of production, in 
the cotton, the machinery, and so on; the remaining one hour 
alone is added by him. Therefore since his wages are produced 
in 51 hours, and the yarn produced in one hour also contains 
5i hours' ,york, there is no witchcraft in the result, that the 
value created by his 51 hours' spinning, is equal to the value of 
the product spun in one hour. You are altogether on the 
\vrong track, if you think that he loses a single moment of his 
working day, in reproducing or replacing the values of the 
cotton, the machinery, and so on. On the contrary, it is be- 
cause his labour converts the cotton and spindles into yam, 
because he spins, that the values of the cotton and spindles go 
over to the yarn of their 0 wn accord. This result is owing to 
the quality of his labour, not to its quantit.y. It is true, he 
will in one hour transfer to the yarn more value, in the shape 
of cotton, than he ,vill in half an hour; but that is only be- 
cause in one hour he spins up more cotton than in half an 
hour. You see then, your assertion, that the workman pro- 
duces, in the last hour but one, the value of his wages, and in 
the last hour your net profit, amounts to no more than thi8, 
that in the yarn produced by hin1 in 2 working hours, whether 
they are the 2 first or the 2 last hours of the ,vorking day, in 
that yarn, there are incorporated ll
 w"orking hours, or just a 
whole day's work, i.e., t\VO hours of his o,vn work and 9

The Rate of SurPlus-value. 


()f other people's. And my assertion that, in the first 5! hours, 
he produces his ,vages, and in the Ia
t 5i hours your net profit, 
amounts only to this, that you pay him for the fonner, but not 
for the latter. In speaking of paYIIlent of labour, instead of 
payment of ]abour-po\ver, I only talk your own slang. Now, 
gentlemen, if you cornpare the \vorking time you pay for, ,vith 
that ,vhich you do not pay for, you ,vill find that they are to 
-one another, as half a day is to half a day; this gives a rate of 
100%, and a very pretty percentage it is. Further, there is 
not the least doubt, that if you n1ake your {( hands" toil for 13 
hours, instead of II!, and, as may be expected from you, treat 
t be work done in that extra one hour and a half, as pure 
surplus-labour, then the latter will be increased from 5f hours' 
labour to 7! hours' labour, and the rate of surplus-value from 
100% tü 126 
 %. So that you are altogether too sanguine, in 
expecting that by such an addition of Ii hours to the working 
òay, the rate will rise from 100% to 200% and more, in other 
,yords that it ,vill be {( more than doubled." On the other 
hanel-rnan's heart is a ,vonderful thing, especially when 
calTied in the purse-you take too pessin1ist a vie\v, when you 
fear, that with a reduction of the bours of labour from ll
10, the ,vhole of your net profit \yill go to the dogs. Not at 
all. All other conùitions relnaining the same, the surplus- 
labour ,vill fall from 51 hours to 4i hours", a period that still 
gives a very profitable rate of surplus-value, namely 82
But this dreadful (( last hour," about ,vhich you have invented 
IIlore stories than have the millenarians about the day of 
judgment, is "all bosh." If it goes, it will cost neither you, 
your net profit, nor the boys and girls wborn you employ, their 
"purity of mind." 1 'Vhenever your "last hour " strikes in 
1 If, on the one hand, Senior proved that the net profit of the manufacturer, 
the existence of the English cotton industry, and England's command of the markets 
of the "orld, depend on U the last working hour," on the other hand, Dr. Andrew 
Ure showed., that if children and young-persons under 18 years of age, instead of being 
kept the full1
 hours in the warm and pure moral atmosphere of the factory, are 
turned out an hour sooner into the heartless and frivolous outer world, they will be 
df'prived, by idleness and vice, of all hope of salvation for their souls. Since 184R, the 
factory inspectors have never tired of twitting- the masters with this" last," this 
"fatal hour." Thus Mr. Howell in his report of the 31st May, 1855: "Had the follow- 
jng ingenious calculation (he quotes Senior) been correct, every cotton factory in the 
:..rnited Kingdom would have been wOlI...iu ó at a loss since the )"car 1850." (Reports 


Caþitalist Produclton. 

earnest, think on the Oxford Professor. And now, gentleman,. 
II farewell, and may we meet again in yonder better world, but 
Dot before." 
Senior invented the battle cry of the cc last hour" in 1836. 1 
of the Insp. of Fact. for the half-year, ending 30th April, 1855, pp. 19, 20.) In the 
year 1848, after the passing of the 10 hour's bill, the masters of some flax spinning 
mills, scattered, few and far between, over the country on the borders of Dorset anù 
Somerset, foisted a petition against the bill on to the shoulders of a few of their work 
people. One of the clauses of this petition is as follows: U Your petitioners, as 
parents, conceive that an additional hour of leisure will tend more to demoralise the 
children than otherwise, believing that idleness is the parent of vice." On this the 
factory report of 31st Oct., 1848, says: The atmosphere of the flax mills, in which the 
children of these virtuous and tender parents work, is 80 loaded with dust and fibre 
from the raw material, that it is exceptionally unpleasant to stand even 10 minutes in 
the spinning rooms: for you are unable to do so without the most painful sensation, 
owing to the eyes, the ears, the nostrils, and mouth, being immediately filled by the 
<:louds of flax dust from which there is no escape. The labour itself, owing to the 
feverish haste of the machinery, demands unceasing application of skill and movement, 
under the control of a watchfulness that never tires, and it seems somewhat hard, to 
let parents apply the term U idling" to their own children, who, after allowing for 
meal times, are fettered for 10 whole hours to such an occupation, in such an atmos- 
phere.. . These children work longer than the labourers in the ncighbourin
villages. . . Such cruel talk about "idleness and vice" ought to be 
branded as the purest cant, and the most shameless hypocrisy. . . Tha.t 
portion of the public, who, about 12 years ago, were struck by the assurance with 
which, under the sanction of high authority, it was publicly and most earnestly pro- 
claimed, that the whole net profit of the manufacturer flows from the labour of the 
last hour, and that, therefore, the reduction of the working day by one hour, would 
destroy his net profit; that portion of the public, we say, will hardly believe its own 
eyes, when it now finds, that the original discovery of the virtues of U the last hour" 
has since been so far improved, as to include morals as well as t1rofit; so that, if the 
duration of the labour of children, is reduced to a full 10 hours, their morals, together 
with the net profits of their employers, will vanish, both being dependent on this last, 
this fatal hour. (See Repts., Insp. of Fact., for 31st Oct., 1848, p. 101.) The same 
report then gives some examples of the morality and virtue of these:same pure-minded 
manufacturers, of the tricks, the artifices, the cajoling, the threats, and the falsifica- 
tions, they made use of, in order, first, to compel a few defenceless workmen to sign 
petitions of such a kind, and then to impose them upon Parliament as the petitions 
of a whole branch of industry, or a whole country. It is highly characteristic of the 
present status of so called economical science, that neither Senior himself, who, at a. 
later period, to his honour be it said, energetically supported the factory legislation, 
nor his opponents, from first to last, have ever been able to explain the false con- 
clusions of the" original discovery." They appeal to actual experie
ce, but the why 
and wherefore remains a mystery. 
1 Nevertheless, the learned professor was not without some benefit from his journey 
to Ma.nchester. In the ., Letters on the }<'actory Act," he makes the whole net gai!_8 
including " profit" and" interest," and even "something more, n depend upon a single hour's work of the labourer. One year previously, in his" Outlines of Political 
Econorn:r," written for the instruction of Oxford students and cultivated Philistines, 
he had aho "discovered, in opposition to Ricardo's determination of value by labour, 
that profit is derived from the labour of the capitalist, and interest from his asceticism.. 

IJze j?ate of SurPlus-valuc. 

21 3 

In the London FCOl101llist of the 15th April, 1
48, the sa.llie cry 
 again raisell by James \Vilson, an economical nlandarin of 
high standing: this time in opposition to the 1 0 hOlll'
' bill. 


The portion of the product that represents the surplus-value, 
(one-tenth of the 20 lbs., or 2 lbs. of yarn, in the example given 
in Sec. 2.) ,ve call (( surplus-produce." Just as the rate of 
surplus-value is detennined by its relation, not to the sum total 
{)f the capital, but to its variable part; in like manner, the re- 
lative quantity of surplus-produce is determined by the ratio 
that thi
 produce bears, not to the remaining part of the total 
product, but to that part of it in \vhich is incorporated the 
necessary labour. Since the production of surplus-value is the 
chief end and aÎID of capitalist production, it is clear, that the 
greatness of a man's or a nation's wealth should be measureù, 
not by the absolute quantity produced, but by the relative 
Inagnitude of the surplus-produce. 1 
The sum of the necessary labour and the surplus-labour, i.e., 
()f the periods of tirue during \vbich the workman replaces the 
,\yalue of his labour-po\ver, and proùuces the surplus-value, this 

um constitutes the actual time during \vhich he works, i.e., t.he 
\vorking day. 
in other words, from his "abstinence." The dodge was an old one, but the word 
..., abstinence" was new. Herr Roscher trar. slates it rightly by " Enthaltung." Some of 
his countrymen, the Browns, Jones, and Robinsons, of Germany, not so well versed 
in Latin as he, have, monk-like, rendered it by "Entsagung" (renunciation). 
I "'1'0 an individual with a capital of 

O,OOO, whose profits were ;C2000 per annum, 
it would be a matter quite indifferent whethcr his capital would employ a 100 or 1000 
men, whether the commodity produced sold for f:10,OOO or 
20,OOO, provided, in all 
cases, his profit were not diminished below 
2000. Is not the real interest of the nation 
imilar? Provided its net real income, its rent and profits, be the same, it is of no 
importance whether the nation consists of 10 or of 12 millions of inhabitants." (Rie. 
L c., p. 416.) Long before Ricardo, Arthur Young, a fanatical upholder of surplus 
produce, for the rest, a rambling, uncritical writer, whose reputation is in the inverse 
ratio of his merit, says, "Of what use, in a modern kingdom, would be a whole pro- 
vince thus divided [in the old Roman manner, by small indepcnJent peasants], however 
well cultivated, except for the mere purpose of breeding men, which taken singly is a 
most useless purpose 1" (Arthur Young: Political Arithmetic, &c. London, 1774, 
p. 47.) 
Very curious is U the strong inclination . . . to represent net wealth as beneficial to 
t'he labouring class. . . . though it is evidently not on account of beil1g net." (Th.. 
: :<>1';" illS, On liêut of Land, &c. I..onilon, 1823, p. 126.) 


CapllalÙt Prodltct/01t. 




WE started with the supposition that labour-power is bought 
and sold at its value. Its value, like that of all other comlno- 
dities, is determined by the working time necessary to its 
production. If the production of the average daily means of 
subsistence of the labourer takes up 6 hours, he must work, on 
the average, 6 hours every day, to produce his daily labour- 
power, or to reproduce the value received as the result of its 
sale. The necessary part of his working day amounts to 6 
hours, and is, therefore, cæteris paribu8, a given quantity. But 
with this, the extent of the working day itself is not yet 
Let us assume that the line A B represents the length of the 
necessary working time, say 6 hours. If the labour be pro- 
longed 1, 3, or 6 hours beyond A B, we have 3 other lines: 
Working day I. Working day II. Working day IlL 
A B-C. A--B--C. A B--C. 
representing 3 different working days of 7, 9, and 12 hourb. 
The extension B C of the line A B represents the length of 
the surplus labour. As the working day is A B+ B C or 
A 0, it varies \vith the variable quantity B C. Since A B 
is constant, the ratio of B C to A B can always be calculated. 
In working day 1. it is i, in working day II, -{ in working day 
III ...! of A B Since further the ratio 8urpiuB worki
g time. detcr- 
, 6 . , , necessary working tIme. 
mines the rate of the surplus-value, the latter is given by the 
ratio of B U to A B. It amounts in the 3 different working- 
days respectively to 16i, 50 and 100 per cent. On the -other 
hand, the rate of surplus-value alone would not give us the- 
extent of the working day. If this rate, e.g., were 100 per" 
cent., the working day might be of 8, 10, 12, or more hours. 
It would indicate that the 2 constituent parts of the working: 

The 117orl:illf' DaJ/. 

21 5 

day, necessary-Iahour and surplus-laLour tin1e, ,vere equal in ex- 
tent, but not how long each of t.hese two constituent partR \vas. 
The working day is thus not a constant, but a variable 
quantity. One of it
 parts, certainly, is determined by the 
working time required for the reproduction of the labour- 
po\ver of the labourer himself. But its total Ulnount varies 
\vith the duration of the surplus-labour. The \vorking day is, 
therefore, deterrninable, but is, per se, indeternlinate. 1 
Although the \vorking day is not a fixed, but a fluent 
quantity, it can, on the other hand, only vary within certain 
limits. The minimum lin1Ït is, however, not dpterminable ; 
of course, if we make the extension line BO or the surplus- 
labour = 0, we have a minin1urrt linllt, i.e., the part of the day 
"\vhich the labourer must neces:;arily work for his o\vn main- 
tenance. On the basis of capitalist production, however, this 
necessary labour can form a part only of the \vorking day; the 
,,"orking day itself can never be reduced to this Ininimum. On 
1 he other hand, the working day has a maximum limit. It 
cannot be prolonged beyond a certain point. This maximum 
limit is conditioned by t\VO things. Fir
t, by the physical 
bounds of labour-power. Within the 24 hours of the natural day 
a Inan can expend only a definite quantity of his vital force. A 
horse, in like manner, can only work from day to day, 8 hours. 
During part of the day this force must rest, sleep; during 
another part the man has to sati
fy other physical needs, to 
feed, wash, and clothe himself. Besides these purely physical 
limitations, the extension of the working day encounter
moral ones. The labourer needs time for satisfying his intellec- 
tual and social \vants, the extent and number of ,vhich are 
conditioned by the general 
tate of social advancement. The 
variation of the working day fluctuates, therefore, within 
physical and social bounds. But both these limiting conditions 
are of a very elastic nature, and allow the greatest latitude. 
So we find ,vorking days of 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 hours, i.e.) of 
the most different lengths. 
'].1he capitalist has bought the labour-power at itd day-rate. 

1 U A day's labour is vague, it may be long or short." (" An essay on iTade and 
Commerce, containing observations on taxes," &c. London, 1770, p. 73.) 


L"aþitalist Prot{uclio1Z. 

To hiln its use-value belongs during one working day. He 
has thus acquired the right to make the labourer work for hiIn 
during one day. But, \vhat is a working day? 
At all events, less than a natural day. By how much l 
The capitalist has his own views of this ultima Thule, the 
necessary limit of the working day. As capitalist, he is only 
capital personified. Ilis soul is the sou] of capital But 
capital has one single life impulse, the tenùency to create 
value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means 
of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus- 
labour. t 
Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by 
sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it 
sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time 
during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has 
purchased of him. S 
If the labourer consumes his disposable tinle for himself, hG 
robs the capitalist. 
The capitalist then takes his stand on the law of the ex- 
change of commodities. He, like all other buyers, seeks to get 
the greatest possible benefit out of the use-value of bis commo- 
dity. Suddenly the voice of the labourer, which had been 
stifled in the storm and stress of the process of production, 
es : 
The comn1odity that I have sold to you differs from the 
crowd of other commodities, in that its use creates value, and 

I This question is far more important than the celebrated question of Sir Robert 
Peel to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce: "That is a pound? A question 
that could only have been proposed, because Peel was as much in the dark as to the 
nature of money as the" little shilling men" of Birmingham. 
2 It is the aim of the capitalist to obtain with his expended capital the greatest 
possible quantity of labour (d'obtenir du capital dépensê la plus forte somme de 
travail possible.) J. G. Courcelle-Seneuil. Traité théorique et pratique dcs entre- 
prises industrielles. 2nd ed. Paris, 1857, p. 63. 
S "An hour's labour lost in a day is a prodigious injury to a commercial State. 
. . . There is a very great consumption of luxuries among the labouring poor of this 
kingdom: particularly among the manufacturing populace, by which they also 
consume their time, the most fatal of consumptions." An Essay on Traùe and 
Commerce, &c., p. 47 and 153. 
4" Si Ie manouvrier libre prend un instant de repos,l'économie Bordide qui Ie suit 
des yeux avec inquiétude, prétend qu'illa vole." N. Linguet. U Théorie des ]oix 
civiles, &c. London, 17ß7," t. II., p. 466. 

The IT T orkÙzg Day- 


a value greater than its o,vn. That is \vhy you bought it. 

rhat ,vhich on your side appears a spontaneous expansion of 
capital, is on mine extra expenditure of labour-power. You 

lld I know on the market only one law, that of the exchange 
of comIllodities. And the consumption of the commoùity 
Lclongs not to the seller who parts with it, but to the buyer, 
". ho acquires it. To you, therefore, belongs the use of my 
daily labour-po\ver. But by n1eans of the price that you pay 
for it each day, I must be able to reproduce it rlaily, and to 
sell it again. Apart from natural exhau
tion through age, &c., 
I lnust be able on the morro\v to work with the same normal 
arnount of force, health and freshness as to-day. You preach 
to me constantly the gospel of "saving" and "abstinence." 
Good! I ,vill, like a sensible saving owner, husband my sole 
,vealth, labour-power, and abstain from all foolish waste of it. 
I will each day spend, set in motion, put into action only as 
111uch of it as is compatible with its normal duration, B.nd 
healthy development. By an unlimited extension of the 
orking day, you may in one day use up a quantity of labour- 
po\ver greater than I can restore in three. "\Vhat yon gain in 
labour I lose in substance. The use of my labour-power and 
the spoliation of it are quite different things. If the average 
tilne that (doing a reasonable amount of work) an average 
labourer can live, is 30 years, the value of my labour-power, 
,vhich you pay me frolll day to day is dx30 or -l

O- of its total 
value. But if you consume it in 10 years, you pay Ine daily 
6Õ- instead of 
 of its total value, i.e., only! of iti daily 
value, and you rob me, therefore, every day of i of the value of 
my comn10dity. You pay me for one day's labour-power, 
whilst you use that of 3 days. That is against our contract 
and the la \v of exchanges. I dellland, therefore, a working 
day of norma] length, and I demand it without any appeal to 
your heart, for in money matters sentiment is out of place. 
You may be a model citizen, perhaps a member of the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Anin1a18, and in the 
odour of sanctity to boot; but the thing that you represent face 
to face ,vith me has no heart in its breast. That which seenlS 
to throb there is my own heart-beating. I demand the nOrInal 


Caþztalist Production. 

working day because I, like every other seller, demand the- 
value of my commodity. 1 
We see then, that, apart from extremely elastic bounds, the 
nature of the exchange of commodities itself imposes no limit to 
the working day, no limit to surplus-labour. The capitalist main- 
tains his rights as a purchaser when he tries to make the work- 
ing day as long as possible, and to make, whenever possible, two- 
working days out of one. On the other hand, the peculiar 
nature of the commodity sold implies a limit to its consump- 
tion by the purchaser, and the labourer maintains his right 
as seller when he wishes to reduce the working day to one of 
definite nornlal duration. There is here, therefore, an anti- 
nomy, right against right, both equally bearing the seal of the- 
law of exchanges. Between equal rights force decides. Hence 
is it that in the history of capitalist production, the determin- 
ation of what is a working day, presents itself as the result of 
a struggle, a struggle between collective capital, i.e., the class of 
capitalists, and collective labour, i.e., the working class. 


Capital has not invented surplus-labour. "'\Vherever a part 
of society possesses the monopoly of the means of production, the 
labourer, free or not free, must add to the working time 
necessary for his own maintenance an extra working time in 
order to produce the means of subsistence for the owners of the 
means of production,S whether this proprietor be the Athenian 
_.A', "ù.'YaIDr, Etruscan theocrat, civis Romanus, Norman baron, 
American slave owner, Wallachian Bayard, modern landlord or 
capitalist. s It is, however, clear that in any given economic 
1 During the great strike of the London builders, 1860-61, for the reduction of the 
working day to 9 hours, their Committee published a manifesto that contained, to 
Borne extent, the plea of our worker. The manifesto alludes, not without irony, to 
the fact, that the greatest profit-monger amongst the building masters, a certain 
Sir 1.1. Peto, was in the odour of sanctity. (This same Peto, after 1867, came to an 
end à la Strousberg.) 
t "Those who labour . . . . in reality feed both the pensioners . . . [called 
the rich] and themselves." (Edmund Burke, 1. c., p. 2.) 
B Niebuhr in his" Roman History" says very naively: "It is evident that works 
like the Etruscan, which, in their ruins astound us, presuppose in little (!) states lords 
and vassals." Sismondi says far more to the purpose that "Brussels lace" pre- 
aupposes wage-lords and wage-slaves. 

The TV01'kiug Day. 

21 9 

formation of society, where not the exchange-value but the 
use-value of the product predominates, surplus-labour will be 
linlÏted by a given set of wants which may be greater or less, 
and that here no boundless thirst for surplus-labour arises from 
the nature of the production itself. Hence in antiquity over- 
,york becolnes horrible only ,vhen the object is to obtain ex- 
change-value in its specific independent money-form; in the 
production of gold and silver. Compulsory ,vorking to death 
is here the recognised form of over- wo."k. Only read Diodorus 
Siculus. 1 Still these are exceptions in antiquity. But as soon 
as people, whose production still moves within the lower forms 
of slave-labour, corvée-Iabour. &c., aTe drawn into the whirlpool 
of an international market dominated by the capitalistic mode 
of production, the sale of their products for 
xport becoming 
their principal interest, the civilized horrors of over-work are 
grafted on the barbaric horrors of slavery, serfllom, &c. Hence 
the negro labour in the Southern States of the American Union 
preserved something of a patriarchal character, so long as pro- 
duction was chiefly directed to immediate local consumption. 
But in proportion, as the export of cotton became of vital 
interest to these states, the over-working of the negro and some- 
times the using up of his life in 7 years' of labour became a 
factor in a calculated and calculating system. It was no longer 
a question of obtaining from him a certain quantity of useful 
products. It was now a question of production of surplu
labour itself. So was it also ,vith the corvée, e.g., in the 
Danubian Principalities (now Rournania). 
The comparison of the greed for surplus-labour in the 
Danubian Principalities with the saIne greed in English factories 
has a special interest, because surplus-labour in the corvée has 
an independent and palpable form. 
Suppose the working day consists of 6 hours of necessary 
labour, and 6 hours of surplus-labour. Then the free labourer 

1 U One cannot see these unfortunates (in the gold mines between Egypt, Ethiopia, 
anù .Arabia) who cannot even have their bodies clean, or their nakedness clothed, 
without pitying their miserable lot. There is no indulgence, no forbearance for the 
sick, the feeble, the ageù, for woman's weakness. All must, forced by blows, work 
on until death puts an end to their sufferings and their distress." (" Diod. Sic. Bibl. 
HÏi;t. J" lib. 3, c. 13.) 


Caþitalist PrùductlOlt. 

gi ves the capitalist every week 6 X 6 or 36 bours of surplus- 
labour. It is the saIne as if he worked 3 days in the ,veek for 
hinlself, and 3 days in the week gratis for the capitalist. But 
this is not evident on the surface. Surplus-labour and necessary 
labour glide one into the other. I can, therefore, expre
s the 
same relationship by saying, e.g., that the labourer in every 
lninute works 30 seconds for himself, and 30 for the capitalist, 
etc. It is otherwise ,vith the corvée. The necessary labour 
which the 'Vallachian peasant doeR for his o,vn maintenance is 
distinctly Inarked ofi' Ù'oln his surplus-labour on behalf of the 
Bayard. The one he does on his own field, the other on the 
seignorial estate. Both parts of the labour-time exist, there- 
fore, independently, side by side one with the other. In the 
corvée the surplus-labour is accurately marked off from the 
necessary labour. This, however, can make no difference with 
regard to the quantitative relation of surplus-labour to necessary 
labour. Three days'surplus-Iabour in the week renlain three 
days that yield no equivalent to the labourer hiInself, whether 
it be called corvée or wage-labour. But in the capitalist the 
greed for surplus-labour appears in the straining after an un- 
lilnited extension of the working day, in the Boyard more 
silnply in a direct hunting after days of corvée. 1 
In the Danubian Principalities the corvée was mixed up with 
rents in kind and other appurtenances of bondage, but it formed 
the most important tribute paid to the ruling class. Where 
this was the case, the corvée I'
rely arose from serfdom; serfdom 
Inuch more frequently on the other hand took origin from the 
 This is what took place in the Roulnanian provinces. 

1 That which follows refers to the situation in the Roumanian provinces before the 
change effected since the Crimcan war. 
2 TIns holds likewise for Germany, and especially for Prussia east of the Elbe. In 
the 15th century the German peasant was nearly everywhere a man, who, whilst 
subject to certain rents paid in produce and labour was otherwise at least 
l'ractically free. The German colonists in Brandenburg, Pomerania, Silesia, and 
Eastern Prussia, were even legally acknowledged as free meu. The victory of the 
nobility in the peasants' war put an end to that. Not only were the conquered South 
German peasants again enslaved. From the middle of the 16th century the peasants 
of Eastern Prussia, Brandenburg, Pomerania, and Silesia, and soon after the free 
peasants of Schleswig-Holstein were degraded to the condition of serfs. (Maurer, 
Fronhöfe iv. vol.,-::',Ieitzea, ùcr Boden des preussischen Staats.-Hansen, 
enschaft in Schlè8wig-Holstcin.-ED.) 

The Tl7orki1lg Day. 


Their original mode of production was based on community of 
the soil, but not in the Slavonic or Indian form. Part of the 
land \vas cultivated in severalty as freehold by the members of 
the community, another part-ager publicus-was cultiva.ted 
by them in common. The products of this common labour 
served partly as a reserve fund a
ainst bad harvests and other 
accidents, partly as a public store for providing the costs of 
war, reI igion, and other common expenses. In course of tirüe 
D1ilitary and clerical dignitaries usurped, along ,vith the COln- 
Inon land, the labour spent upon it. The labour of the free 
peasants on their COlnmon laud ,vas transformed into corvée for 
the thieves of the common land. This corvée soon developed 
into a servile relationship existing in point of fact, not in point 
of law, until Ru

ia, the liberator of the world, made it legal 
under pretence of abolishing serfdom. The code of the corvée, 
\v hich the Russian General Kisseleff proclaimed in 1831, ,vas of 
conrse dictated by the Boyards themselves. Thus Russia con- 
quered with one blow the magnates of the Danubian provinces, 
and the applause of liberal crétins throughout Europe. 
Accorùing to the" Réglement organique," as this code of the 
corvée is caUed, every 'Vallachian peasant owes to the so-called 
landlord, besides a mass of detailed payments in kind: (1), 12 
days of general labour; (2), one day of :field labour; (3), one 
ùay of ,vood carrying. In all, 14 days in the year. \Vith deep 
insight into political economy, ho,vever, the working day is not 
taken in its ordinary sense, but as the working day necessary 
to the production of an average daily product; and that average 
daily product is determined in so crafty a way that no Cyclops 
"\vould 1e ò.one with it in 24 hours. In dry words, the Régle- 
n1ent itself declares with true Russian irony that by 12 working 
days one must understand the product of the manual labour of 
36 days, by 1 day of field labour 3 days, and by 1 day of ,vood 
carrying in like manner three times as much. In all, 42 
corvée days. To this had to be added the so-called jobagie, 
service due to the lord for extraordinary occasions. In propor- 
tion to the size of its population, every village has to furnish 
annually a definite contingent to the joba
ie. This additional 
corvée is estimated at 14 days for each "T allachian pea


Caþitalist Productio1t. 

Thus the prescribed corvée amounts to 56 working days yearly. 
But the agricultural year in Wallachia number8 in consequence 
of the severe climate only 210 days, of which 40 for Sundays 
and holidays, 30 on an average for bad weather, together 70 
days, do not count. 1 {O working days remain. The ratio of 
the corvée to the necessary labour ãi. or 66 
 0/ 0 gives a much 
smaller rate of surplus-value than that which regulates the 
labour of the English agricultural or factory labourer. This 
is, however, only the legally prescribed corvée. And in a spirit 
yet more" liberal" than the English Factory }
cts, tbe " Régle- 
ment organique" has known how to facilitate its own evasion. 
After it has made 56 days out of 12, the nominal days ,york of 
each of the 56 corvée days is again so arranged that a portion 
of it must fan on the ensuing day. In one day, e.g., must ue 
weeded an extent of land, which, for this work, especially in 
maize plantations, needs twice as much time. The legal day's 
work for some kinds of agricultural labour is interpretable in 
such a way that the day begins in May and ends in October. 
In Moldavia conditions are still harder. "The 12 cOl'vée days 
of the 'Régleluent organique' cried a BOJard drunk ,vith 
victory, amount to 365 days in the year."l 
If the Réglement organique of the Danubian provinces wa
a positive expression of the greed for surplus-labour ,vhich 
every paragraph legalised, the English Factory Acts are the 
negative expression of the same greed. These acts curb the 
passion of capital for a limitless draining of labour-power, by 
forcibly limiting the ,vorking day by state regulations, Inade 
by a state that is ruled by capitalist and landlord. Apart from 
the working-class movement that daily gre,v lllore threatening, 
the limiting of factory labour was dictated by the same necessity 
which spread guano over the English fields. The same blind 
eagerness for plunder that in the one case exhausted the soil, 
had, in the other, torn up by the roots the living force of the 
nation. Periodical epideInics speak on this point as clearly as 
the diminishing Ini1itary stanllard in Gennany and France. 2 
1 Further details are to be found in E. Regnault'. 'e Histoire politi que et 60ciale tIeB 
Principautés Danubiennes Pa.ö is, 1855 
2 "In general a.nd within certain limits, exceeding the mCllium size of their kind, is 
evidence of the prosperity of organic b{
ings. As to man, hi
 bodily height lcs&cns if 

The f
Torki1lg Day. 


The Factory Act of 1850 no,v in force (1867) allows for 
average working-day 10 hours, i.e., for the first 5 days 12 hours 
from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., including ! an hour for breakfast, and 
an hour for dinner, and thus leaving 10
 working hours, and 
8 hours for Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., of which! an hour 
is subtracted for breakfast. 60 working hours are left, 10! for 
each of the first 5 days, 71 for the last. l Certain guardians of 
these laws are appointed, Factory Inspectors, directly under the 
Jlorne Secretary, whose reports are published half-yearly, by 
order of Parliament. They give regular and official statistics of 
the capitali.'3tic greed for surplus-labour. 
Let us listen, for a moment, to the Factory Inspectors.. 
(( The fraudulent millo,vner begins work a quarter of an Lour 
(sometimes more J sometimes less) before 6 a.m., and leaves off 
a quarter of an hour (sometimes more, sometil.11es less) after 
6 p.m. He takes 5 minutes from the beginning and from the 

tis due growth is interfered with, either by physical or social conditions. In all 
European countrieø in which the conscription holds, since its introduction, the meJium 
height of a.dult men, and generally their fitness for military service, has diminished. 
Before the revolution (178V), the minimum for the infantry in }'rance was 165 centi- 
metres; in 1818 (law of :\farch 10th), 157; by the law of 1852, 156 c.m.; on the 
average in France more than half are rejected on account of deficient height or bodily 
weakness. The military standard in Saxony was in 17bO, 178 c.m. It is now 155. 
In Prussia it is 157. According to the statement of Dr. l\feyer in the Bavarian 
Gazette, !\fay Dth, 1862, the result of an average of 9 years is, that in Prussia out of 
1000 conscripts 716 were unfit for military service, 317 because of deficiency in height, 
and 3D9 because of bodily defects. . . . Berlin in 1858 could not provide its con- 
tin;;cnt of recruits; it was 156 men short." J. von Liebig: "Die Chemie in ihrer 
Anwendung auf Agrikultur und Physiologie, 1863," 7th Ed., vol. 1., pp. 117, 118. 
1 The history of the Factory Act of 1830 will be found in the course of this chapter. 
2 I only touch here and there on the period from the beginning of modern industry 
in England to 1845. For this period I refer the reader to "Die Lage der arbd- 
tenden Klasse in England, yon Friedlich Engels, Leipzig, 1845." How completely 
els understood the nature of the capitalist mode of production is shown by the 
Factory Reports, Reports on ?Innes, &c., that have appeared since 1845, and how 
wonderfully he painted the circum
tances in detail is seen on the most superficial 
comparison of his work with the official reports of the Children's Employment Com- 
mission, published 18 to 20 years later (1863-1867). '] hese deal especially with the 
òranches of industry in whicb the Factory Acts had not, up to 186:?, been introduced, 
in fact are not yet introduced. Here, then, little or no alteration had been enforccrl, 
hyauthority, in the conditions painted by Engels. I borrow my examples chiefly 
from the free trade perioà after 18 L 18, that age of paradise, of which the commercial 
travellers for the great firm of free trade, blatant as ignorant, tell such f
Luloub tales. 
For the rest England figures here in the foreground because she is the classic repre- 
sentath-e of capitalist production, and she alone has a continuous set of official 
cs of tl1e things we are consiùering. 


Caþitalist Productzon. 

end of the half hour nominally allowed for breakfast, and 1 ð 
minutes at the beginning and end of the hour nominally allowed 
for dinner. He works for a quarter of an hour (sometimes 
more, sometimes less) after 2 p.m. on Saturday. Thus his gain 
is--- · 

Before 6 a.m.,... 
After 6 p.m., ... 
At breakfast tirne, 
At dinner time, 


15 minutes. 






Five days-300 minutes. 
On Saturday before 6 a.m. 
At breakfast time, 
After 2 p.m., ... 



15 minutes. 



40 minutes. 
Total weekly, 340 minutes. 
Or 5 hours and 40 minutes weekly, which multiplied by 50 
working weeks in the year (allowing two for holidays and 
occasional stoppages) is equal to 27 working days."l 
II Five minutes a day's increased work, multiplied by weeks, 
are equal to two and a half days of produce in the year.'
II An additional hour a day gained by small instalments before 
6 a.m., after 6 p.m., and at the beginning and end of the times 
nominally fixed for meals, is nearly equivalent to working 13 
mon ths in the year. ''3 
Crises during which production is interrupted and the fac- 
tories work "short tÌIne," i.e., for only a part of the week, 
naturally do not affect the tendency to extend the working 
day. The less business there is, the more profit has to be made 
on the business done. The less time spent in work, the more 
of that tilne has to be turned into surplus labour-time. 

1 Suggestions, &c. by l\1r. L. Horner, Inspector of Factories, in: Factory Regula.- 
tions Act. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 9th August, 1859, J. 
4, 5. 
2 Reports of the Inspector of Factories for the ha.lf year, October, 1856, p.35. 
I Reports, &c., 30th April, 1838, p. 9. 

The TVorkÙzg Day. 


Thus the Factory Inspector's report on the period of the 
crisis from 1857 to 1858 : 
II It may seem inconsistent that there should be any over- 
working at a time when trade is so bad; but that very bad- 
nes::; leads to the transgression by unscrupulous men, they get 
the extra profit of it. . . . . In the last half year, says Leonard 
Horner, 122 mills in my district have been given up; 143 were 
found standing," yet. overwork is continued beyond the legal 
(I For a great part of the time," says Mr. Howell, "owing to the 
depression of trade, many factories were altogether closed, and a 
still greater number were working short time. I continue, how- 
ever, to receive about the usual number of complaints that half, 
or three-quarters of an hour in the day, are snatched from the 
workers by encroaching upon the time::; professedly allowed for 
rest and refreshment."1 The same phenomenon was reproduced 
on a smaller scale during the frightful cotton-crisis from 1861 
to 1865. 3 I( It is sometimes advanced by way of excuse" when 
persons are found at work in a factory, either at a. meal hour, 
or at some illegal timA, that they will not leave the mill a.t the 
appointed hour, and that compulsion is necessary to force them 
to cease work [cleaning their machinery, &c.], especially on 
Saturday afternoons. But, if the hanùs remain in a factory 
after the machinery has ceased to revolve . . . they would not 
have been so employed if sufficient time had been set apart 
specially for cleaning, &c., 
ither before 6 8.m. [sic J] or before 
2 p.m. on Saturday afternoons."4 
1 Reports, &c., 1. 0., p. 43. 

 Reports, &c., 1. 0., p. 25. 
I Reports, &c. for the half year ending 30th April, 1861. See Appendix No.2; Re- 
ports, &c., 31st October, 1862, p. 7,52, 53. The violations of the Acts became more 
numerous during the last half year 1863. Cf. Reports, &c., ending 31st October, 
. 7. 
4 Reports, &c., October 31st, 1860, p. 23. With whn.t fanaticism, according to the 
evidence of manufacturers given in courts of law, their hands set themselves against 
every interruption in factory labour, the following curious circumstance shows. In the 
beginning of June, 1836, information reached the magistrates of Dewsbury (York- 
shire) that the owners of 8la.rge mills in the neighbourhood of Batley had violated the 
Factory Acts. Some of theøe gentlemen were accused of having kept at work 5 boys 
between 12 and 15 years of age, from 6 a.m. on Friday to 4 p.m. on the following 
Saturday, not. allowing them any respite except for meals and one hour for Ileep at 
midnight. And these children had to do this ceaseless labour of 30 hours in the 

CaPitalist Productzoll. 
" The profit to be gained by it (over-working in violation ot 
the Act) appears to be, to many, a greater temptation than they 
can resist; they calculate upon the chance of not being found 
out; and when they see the small amount of penalty and costs, 
,vhich those who have been convicted have had to pay, they 
find that if they should be detected there will still be a con- 
siderable balance of gain. . ..1 In cases \vhere the additional 
time is gained by a n1ultiplication of small thefts in tbe course 
of the day, there are insuperable difficulties to the inspectors 
making out a case."t 
These" small thefts" of capital from the labourer's meal and 
recreation time, the factory inspectors also designate as " petty 
pilferings of minutes,"8 " snatching a few minutes,"4 or, as the 
labourers technically called them, "nibbling and cribbling at 
meal times.'" 
It is evident that in this atmosphere the formation of surplus- 
value by surplus-labour, is no secret. "If you allow me," said 
a highly respectable master to me, CI to work only ten minutes 
in the day over-time, you put one thousand a year in my 
pocket:'. "
ioments are the elements of profit." '{ 
Nothing is from this point of view more characteristic than 
the designation of the wor
ers who work full time as " full- 
timers/I and the children under 18 who are only allowed to 
work 6 hours as "half-timers." The worker is here nothing 
more than personified labour-time. All individual distinctions 
are merged in those of" full-timers JJ and (( half. timers.' > 8 


U shoddy-hole," as the hole is called, in which the woollen rags are pulled in pieces, 
and where a. dense atmosphere of dust, shreds, &c., forces even the adult workman to 
cover his mouth continually with handkerchiefs for the protection of his lungs! Tbe 
accused gentlemen affirm in lieu of taking an oath-as quakers they were too scrupu- 
lously religious to take an oath-that they had, in their great compassion for the 
unhappy children, allowed them four hours for sleep, but the obstinate children 
absolutely would not go to bed. The quaker gentlemen were mulcted in 
20. Dry. 
den anticipated thes
" Fox full fraught in seeming sanctity, 
That feared an oath, but like the devil would lie, 
That look'd like Lent, and had the holy leer, 
And durst not sin! before he said his prayer! " 
, Rep., 31st Oct., 1856, p. 34. 8 1. c., p. 48. 15 1. c. J p. 48. 

 1. '0, p. 35. 41. c., p. 48. ø 1. c., p. 48. 
f Report of the Insp. &c., 30th April, 1860, p. 56. 
8 This is the official expression both in the factories and in the reports. 

The If 7 orkÙzg- Day. 



"T e have hitherto considered the tendency to the extension of 
the working day, the were-wolf's hunger for surplus-labour in 
a departn1ent ,vhere the Jnonstrous exactions, not surpassed, 
says an English bourgeois economist, by the cruelties of the 
Spaniards to the American red-skins,1 caused capital at last to 
be bound by the chain
 of legal regulations. N ow, let us cast 
a glance at certain branches of production in which the exploita- 
tion of labour is either free from fetters to this day, or was so 
l,Ir. Broughton Charlton, county magi Rtrate, declared, as 
chairman of a Inceting held at the Asselnbly Rooms, Nottingham, 
on the 14th January, 1860, "that there was an amount of 
privation aDd suffering among that portion of the population 
connected with the lace trade, unknown in other parts of the 
kingdom, indeed, in the ci viJized ,vorld . .. Children of 
nine or ten years are dragged from their squalid beds at tw"O, 
three, or four o'clock in the morning and compelled to work for 
a bare subsistence until ten, eleven, or twelve at night, their 
limbs wearing away, their frames dwindling, their faces whiten- 
ing, and their humanity absolutely sinking into a stone-like 
torpor, utterly horrible to contelnplate . . . . . \Ve are Tìot 
surprised that Mr. 
I allett, or :lny other Inanufacturer, should 
stand forward and protest against discussion . . . . . The 
system, as the Rev. Montagu Valpy describes it, is one of 
unmitigated slavery, socially, physically, morally, and spiritualJy. 
. . . . "\Vhat can be thought of a town which holds a public 
meeting to petition that the period of labour for TIlen shall be 
diminished to eighteen hours a day? . . . . . We declaim 
against the Virginian and Carolinian cotton-planters. Is their 
1 "The cupidity of min-oW11e!'
 whose cruelties in the pursuit of gain have hardly 
been exceeded by those perpetrated by the Spaniards on the conquest of America in 
the pursuit of gold." John Wade, History of the Middle and Working Classes, 3rd 
Ed. London, 1835, p. 114. The theoretical part of this book, a kind of hand-book of 
Political Economy, is, considering the time of its pub1ication, original in some parts, 
t.[J., on commercial crises. The historical p
rt is, +0 a great extent, a shameless 
p1øgiarism of Sir F. 1\1. Eden's "History of the Poor," London, 1799. 


Caþitalist Production. 

black-market, their lash, and their barter of human HeRh more 
detestable than this slow sacrifice of humanity which takes 
place in order that veils and collars may be fabricated for t.he- 
benefit of capitalists 1" 1 
The potteries of Staffordshire have, during the last 22 year
been the subject of three parliamentary inquiries. The result is 
embodied in Mr. Scriven's Report of 1841 to the cc Children's 
Employment Commissioners," in the report of Dr. Greenho\v 
of 1860 published by order of the medical officer of the Privy 
Council (Public Health, 3rd Report, 112-113), lastly, in the 
report of Mr. Longe of 1862 in the "First Report of the 
Children's Employment Commission, of the 13th June, 1863." 
For my purpose it is enough to take, from the reports of 1860 
and 1863, some depositions of the exploited children themselves. 
From the children we may form an opinion as to the adults, 
especially the girls and women, and that in a branch of industry 
by the side of which cotton-spinning appears an agreeable and 
healthful occupation. 2 
William \Vood, 9 years old, was 7 years and 10 months when 
he began to work. He" ran moulds " (carried ready-moulded 
articles into the drying room, afterwards bringing back the 
empty mould) from the beginning. He came to work every day 
in the week at 6 a.m., and left off about 9 p.m. "I work till 
9 o'clock at night six days in the week. I have done so seven 
or eight weeks." Fifteen hours of labour for a child 7 years 
old I J. Murray, 12 years of age, says: "I turn jigger, and run 
moulds. I come at 6. Sometimes I COlne at 4. I worked all 
night last night, till 6 o'clock this morning. I have not been 
in bed since the night before last. There were eight or nine 
other boys working last night. An but one have come thi
morning. I get 3 shillings and sixpence. I do not get any more 
for working at night. I worked two nights last week." Ferny- 
hough, a boy of ten: "I have not always an hour (for dinner). 
I have only half an hour sometimes; on Thursday, Friday, and 
Saturday." S 
1 " Daily Telegraph," 17th January, 1860. 

 Cf. F. Engels' Lage, etc., p. 249-51. 
S Children's Employment Commission. First report, etc., 1863. Evidence, p. 16,. 
, 18. 

The TVorki1tg Da)', 


Dr, Greenhow states that the average duration of life in the 
1)ottery districts of Stoke-on- Trent, and W olstanton is ex- 
traordinarily short. Although in the district of Stoke, only 
26.6% and in \Volstanton only 30'4 0 / 0 of the adult Inale 
population above 20 are employed in the potteries, among the 
men of that age in the nrst district more than half, in the 
second, nearly 
 of the whole deaths are the result of pulmonary 
diseases among the potters. Dr. Boothroyd, a medical practitioner 
at Hanley, says: "Each successive generation of potters is more 
dwarfed and less robust than the preceding one." In like 
manner another doctor, Mr. ðl'Bean: "Since he began to pract.ise 
aJllong the potters 25 years ago, he had observed a marked 
degeneration especially shown in diminution of stature and 
breadth." These statements are taken fi'om tbe report of Dr. 
Greenhow in 1860. 
From the report of the Commissioners in 1863, the following: 
Dr. J. T. Arledge, senior physician of the North Staffordshire 
Infirmary, says: 
'The potters as a clas:-;, both men and WOlnen, 
represent a degenerated population, both physically and Inorally. 
They are, as a rule, stunted in growth, ill-shaped, and frequently 
ill-formed in the chest; they become prematurely old, and are 
certainly short-lived; they are phlegmatic and bloodless, and 
exhibit their debility of constitution by obstinate attacks of 
dyspepsia, and disorders of the liver and kidneys, and by 
rheumatism. But of all diseases they are especially prone to 
chest-disease, to pneumonia, phthisis, bronchitis, and asthma. 
One form would appear peculiar to them, and is known as 
potter's astluna, or potter's consumption. Scrofula attacking 
the glands, or bone
, or other parts of the body, is a disease of 
two-thirds or more of the potters. . . . . That the 'degener- 
escence' of the population of this district is not even greater 
than it is, is due to the constant recruiting from the adjacent 
country, and intermarriages with more healthy races." 2 

Ir. Charles Parsons, late house surgeon of the same institution, 
writes in a letter to Commissioner Longe, amongst other things: 
4' I can only speak from personal observation and not fr1m 

1 Public Health, 3rd report, etc., p. 102, 10-1, 105. 
51 Chilù. Emp1. Comm. I. Report, p. 24. 

23 0 

Caþitalist Production. 

statistical data, but I do not hesitate to assert that nlY indigna.. 
tion has been aroused again and again at the sight of poor 
children whose health has been sacrificed to gratify the avarice 
of either parents or employers." He enumerates the causes 
of the diseases of the potters, and sums them up in the phras
"long hours." The report of the Commission trusts that ,( a 
manufacture which has assumed so prominent a place in the 
whole ,vorld, will not long be subject to the remark that its 
great success is accompanied with the physical deterioration, 
wide-spread bodily suffering, and early death of the workpeople 
. . by whose labour and skill such great results have been 
achieved." 1 And all that holds of the potteries in England is 
true of those in Scotland. 
The manufacture of lucifer matches Jates from 1833, froID 
the discovery of the method of applying phosphorus to the 
match itself. Since 1845 this manufacture has rapidly devel- 
oped in England, and has extended especially amongst the 
thickly populated parts of London as well as in 
Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Norwich, Newcastle and Glas- 
gow. With it has spread the form of lockjaw, which a Vienna 
physician in 1845 discovered to be a disease peculiar to 
lucifer-matchmakers. Half the workers are children under 
thirteen. and young persons under eighteen. The manufacture 
is on account of its unhealthiness and unpleasantness in such 
bad odour that only the most miserable part of the labouring 
class, half-starved widows and so forth, deli vel' up their 
children to it, "the ragged, half-starved, untaught children.''S 
Of the witnesses that Commissioner White examined (1863), 
270 were under 18, 50 under 10, 10 only 8, and 5 only 6 years 
old. A range of the working day from 12 to 14 or 15 hours, 
night-labour, irregular meal times, meals for the most part 
taken in the very workrooms that are pestilent with phos- 
phorus. Dante would have found the worst horrors of his 
Inferno surpassed in this manufacture. 
In the manufacture of paper-hangings the coarser sorts are 
printed by machine; the finer by hand (block-printing). Thfi 
1 Children's Employment Commission, p. 22, 
Ù xi. 
51 1. c. p. xl vii. 
B I.e. p. !iv. 

The Tf 7 0rkÙzg Day. 

23 1 

n10st active business months are from the beginning of October 
to the end of .April. During this time the work goes on fast 
and furious without intermission from 6 a.In. to 10 p.m. or 
fùrther into the night. 
J. Leach deposes: (( Last winter six out of nineteen girls 
were away from ill-health at one tirne frOlD over-"\\-ork. I have 
to bawl at them to keep them awake." 'V. Duffy: "I have 
seen when the children could none of them keep their eyes 
open for the work; indeed, none of us could." J. Lightbourne: 
" .A.m 13 . . . We \vorked last winter till 9 (evening), and the 
winter before till 10. I used to cry with sore feet every night 
]ast winter. G. Apsden: "That boy of mine . . . \vhen he 
was 7 years old I used to carry him on my back to and fro 
through the snow, and he used to have 16 hours a day. . . 1 
have often knelt down to feed him as he stood by the machine, 
for he could not leave it or stop." Smith, the managing 
. partner of a Manchester factory: " We (he means his " hands " 
who work for cc us") \vork OD, with no stoppage for meals, so 
that the day's work of 101 hours is finished by 4.30. p.m., and 
all after that is overtime." 1 (Does this 1\fr. Smith take no 
meals himself during 10
 hours?) " We (this same Smith) sel- 
dom leave off working before 6 p.m. (he means leave off the 
consumption of 'our' labour-power machines), so that we 
(iterum Crispinus) are really working overtime the whole year 
round . . . . . For all these, children and adults alike (152 
children and young persons and 140 adults), the average work 
for the last 18 months has been at the very least 7 days, 5 
hours, or 78; hours a week. For the six weaks ending May 
2nd this year (1862), the averagø was bigher-8 days or 84 
hours a week." Still thie same 
Ir. Smith, who is so extremely 
devoted to the pZuralis majestatis, adds with a smile, " Machine 
work is not great." So the employers in the block-printing 

1 This is not to be taken in the same sense as our surplus-labour time. These 
gentlemen consider lOi hours of labour as the normal working day, which includes 
of course the normal surplus-labour. Aftør this begins "overtime" whioh i8 paid a. 
little better. It will be Meen later that the labour expended during the so-called 
normal day is paid b
low its value, 80 that the overtime is simply a capitalist trick 
in order to extort more 8urplus-Iabour! which it would still be, eTeD if the labour- 
power expended dnring the normal working day were properly paid. 

23 2 

Caþitalist Pro{/uction. 

say: 'Haud labour is more healthy than machine-work." On 
the whole, manufacturers declare with indignation against the 
proposal "to stop the machines at least during meal times.' 
A clause, says Mr. Otley, manager of a wall-paper factory in 
the Borough, "which allowed work between, say 6 a.m. and 9 
p.m. . . . would suit us (1) very well, but the factory hours, 6 
a.m. to 6 p.m., are not suitable. Our machine i9 always 
stopped for dinner. (What generosity!) There is no waste 
of paper and colour to speak of. But," he adds sympatheti- 
cally, "I can understand the loss of time not being liked.' 
The report of the Commission opines with naiveté that the 
fear of some "leading firms" of losing time, i.e., the time for 
appropriating the labour of others, and thence losing profit 
is not a sufficient reason for allowing children under 13, and 
young persons under 18, working 12 to 16 hours per day, to 
lose their dinner, nor for giving it to them as coal and water 
are supplied to the steam-engine, soap to wool, oil to the 
wheel-as merely auxiliary material to the instruments of 
labour, during the process of production itself. l 
No branch of industry in England (we do not take into 
account the making of bread by machinery recently intro- 
duced) has preserved up to the present day a method of pro- 
duction so archaic, so-as we see h'om the poets of t.he Roman 
Empire-pre-christian, as baking. But capital, as was said 
earlier, is at first indifferent as to the technical character of the 
labour-process; it begins by taking it just as it finds it. 
The incredible adulteration of bread, especially in London, 
was first revealed by the House of Con1IDons Committee "on 
the adulteration of articles of food" (1855-56), and Dr. 
Hassall's work, "Adulterations detected." 2 The consequence 
of these revelations was the Act of August 6th, 1860, "for 
preventing the adulteration of articles of food and drink," an 
inoperative law, as it naturally shows the tenderest consider- 
ation for every free-trader who determines by the buying or 
selling of adulterated commodities" to turn an honest penny." 
1 1. c. Evidence, p. 123, 124, 125, 140, and 54. 
2 Alum finely powdered, or mixed with salt, ill a normal article of commerce bear 
ow the significant name of " bakers' stuff. " 
ot is a well-known and very energetic form of carbc.'I1, and forms a manure 

The Jf 7 0rkÙlg Day. 


The Committee itself formulated more or less naïvely its con- 
viction that free-trade llleant essentially trade with adulter- 
ated, or as the English ingeniously put it, "sophisticated" goods. 
In fact this kind of sophistry knows better than Protagoras 
how to make white black, and black \vhite, and better than 
the Eleatics how to demonstrate ad oculos that everything is 
onlyappearance. l 
At all events the committee bad directed the attention of 
the puLlic to its (( daily bread," and therefore to the baking 
trade. At tbe same time in public Ineetings and in petitionfi 
to Parliament rose the cry of the London journeymen bakers 
against their over-work, &c. The cry was so urgent that Mr. 
H. S. Trcmenheere, also a Inembel' of the Commission of 1863 
several times mentioned, was appointed Royal Comlnissioner 
of Inquiry. His report,2 together with the evidence given, 
roused not the heart of the public but its stolnach. English- 
men, always well up in the Bible, knew well enough that man, 
unless by elective grace a capitalist, or landlord, or sinecuri '3t, 
is commanded to eat his bread in the s\veat of his brow, but 
they did not know that he had to eat daily in his bread a certain 
quantity of human perspiration mixed 'with the discharge of 
abcesses, cobwebs, dead black-beetles, and putrid German yeast, 
,vithout counting alum, sand, and other agreeable mineral in- 
gredients. \Vithout any regard to his holiness, Freetrade, the 
free baking-trade was therefore placed under the supervision 

that capitalbtic chimney-sweeps sell to English farmers. Now in 1862 the British 
juryman had in a law-Ruit to decide whether boot, witb which, unknown to the buyer, 
90 % of dust and sand are mixed, is genuine soot in the commercial sense or adulter- 
ated !oot in the legal sense. The" amis du commerce" decided it to be genuine 
commercial soot, and non-suited the plaintiff farmer, 'Tho had in addition to pay the 
costs of the suit. 
1 The French chemist, ChevaIlier, in his treatise on the "sophistications" of 
commodities, enumerates for many of the 600 or more articles which he passes in 
review, 10, 20, 30 different methods of adulteration. He adds that he does not know 
all the methods, and does not menti:m an that he knows. He gives 6 kinds of 
adulteration of sugar, 9 of olive oil, 10 of butter, 12 of salt, 19 of mi1k, 20 of bread, 
23 of hrandy, 24 of meal, 28 of chocolate, 30 of wine, 32 of coffee, etc. Even God 
Almighty does not escape this fate. See Ronard de Carù, on the falsifications of the 
mate1'Ìals of the Sacrament. (De la falsificatIOn des substances sacramentelles t 
Paris, 1856.) 
"Report, &c., relating to the grievances complained of by the journeymen bakers, 
&c., London, 1862," and" Sec(ìlld lteport, &c., Lor.don, lSG


Caþitalist ProductioJZ. 

of the State inspectors (Close of the Parlian1entary session of 
1863), and by the same Act of Parliament, work from 9 in th
evening to 5 in the morning was forbidden for journeymen 
bakers under 18. The last clause speaks volumes as to the- 
over-work in this old-fashioned, homely line of business. 
" The work of a London journeyman baker begins, as a rule, 
at about eleven at night. At that hour he C makes the dough," 
-a laborious process, which lasts froIn half-an-hour to three- 
quarters of an hour, according to the size of the batch or the- 
labour bestowed upon it. He then lies do,vn upon the knead.. 
ing-board, which is also the covering of the trough in which 
the dough is C made;' and with a sack under him, and another 
rolled up as a pillow, he sleeps for about a couple of hours. 
He is then engaged in a rapid and continuous ]abour for about 
five hours-throwing out the dough, c scaling it off,' moulding- 
it, putting it into the oven, preparing and baking rolls and 
fancy bread, taking the batch bread out of the oven, and up 
into the shop, &c., &c. The temperature of a bakehouse ranges 
from about 75 to upwards of 90 degrees, and in the smaller 
bakehouses approximates usually to the higher rather than to 
the lower degree of heat. When the business of making the 
bread, rolls, &c., is over, that of its distribution begins, and a 
considerable proportion of the journeymen in the trade, after 
working hard in the manner described during the night, are 
upon their legs for many hours during the day, carrying baskets,. 
or wheeling hand-carts, and sometimes again in the bakehouse, 
leaving off work at various hours between 1 and 6 p.m. 
according to the season of the year, or the amount and nature 
of their master's business; while others are again engaged in 
the bakehouse in C bringing out' more batches until late in the 
afternoon. 1 . . . During what is called 'the London season,' the 
operatives belonging to the 'full-priced' bakers at the West 
End of the town, generally begin work at 11 p.m., and are en- 
gaged in making the bread, with one or two short (sometimes 
very short) intervals of rest, up to 8 o'clock the next morning. 
They are then engaged all Jay long, up to 4, 5, 6, and as late 
as 7 o'clock in the evening carrying out bread, or sometimes in 
1. c. First Report, &c., p. vi. 

The 11-'oJ kÙlg Day. 


the afternoon in the bakehouse again, assisting in the biscuit- 
baking. They may have, after they have <.lone their work, 
sometimes five or six, sometimes only four or five hours' sleep 
before they begin again. On Fridays they always begin 
sooner, some about ten o'clock, and continue in sonle cases, at 
work, either in making or delivering the bread up to 8 p.m. on 
Saturday night, but more generally up to 4 or 5 o'clock, 
Sunday morning. On Sundays the men D1ust attend twice or 
three times during the day for an hour or two to make pre- 
parations for the next day's bread. . . . . The men employed 
by the underselling masters (who sen their bread under the 
C full price,' and who, as already pointed out, con1prise three- 
foul ths of the London bakers) have not only to \vork on the 
average longer bours, but their work is almost entirely confined 
to the bakehouse. The underselling Inasters generally sell their 
bread. . . . in the shop. If they send it out, which is not con1ffion. 
except as supplying chandlers' shops, they usually ernploy other 
hands for that purpose. It i
 not their practice to deliver 
bread from house to house. Towards the enù of the ,veek. . . . . 
the men begin on Thursday night at 10 o'clock, anll continue on 
,vith only slight intern1Ïssion until late on Saturday evening." 1 
Even the bourgeois intellect understands the position of the 
cc underselling" masters. " The unpaid labour of the men wa
made the source whereby the competition was carried on."2 
And the" full-priced" baker denounces his underselling com- 
petitors to the Commission of Inquiry as thieves of foreign 
labour and adulterators. "They only exist now by first de- 
frauding the public, and next getting 18 bour
' work out of 
their men for 12 hours' wages." a 
The adulteration of bread and the formation of a class of 
bakers that sells the bread below the full price, date from the 
beginning of the 18th century, from the time when the 
corporate character of the trade was lost, and the capitalist in 
the form of the miller or flour-factor, rises behind the nominal 
Inaster baker. 4 Thus was laid the foundation of capitaHstic 
1 1. c. p. !xxi. 2 George Read, The History of Baking, London, 1848, p. 16. 
· Report (First) &c. Evidence of the" full-priced" baker Cheeseman, p. 10
4 George Read, 1. c. At the end of the 17tb and the beginning of the 18th centuries 
the factors (agents) that crowded into every possible trade were still denounce{] as 

23 6 

Caþitalist jJ ro ductio1Z. 

production in this trade, of the unlilnited extension of the 
working day and of night labour, although the latter only 
eince 1824 gained a serious footing, even in London. l 
After what has just been said, it will be understood that the 
Report of the Commission classes journeymen bakers among 
tbe short-lived labourers, who, having by good luck escaped the 
normal decimation of the children of the working-class, rarely 
reach the age of 42. Nevertheless, the baking trade is al,vays 
overwhelmed with applicants. The sources of the supply of 
these labour-powers '
o London are Scotlanù, the western agri- 
cultural districts of England, alid Germany. 
In the years 1858-60, the journeymen bakers in Ireland 
organised at their own expense great meetings to agitate 
against night and Sunday work. The public-e.g., at the 
Dublin meeting in May, 1860-took their part with Irish 
\varmth. As result of this movement, day labour alone was 
successfully established in Wexford, Kilkenny, Clonmel, Vi ater- 
ford, &c. "In Lir.c.erick, ,vhere the grievances of the journey- 
men are demonstrated to be excessive, the movement has been 
defeated by the opposition of the master bakers, the miller 
bakers being the greatest opponents. The example of Limerick 
led to a retrogression in Ennis and Tipperary. In Cork, where 
the strongest possible delTIonstration of feeling took place, the 
masters, by exercising their power of turning the men out of 
employment, have defeated the movement. In Du 1lin, the 
Inaster bakers have offered the most determined opposition to 
the movement, and by discountenancing as much as possible 
the journeymen promoting it, have succeeded in leading the 
men into acquiescence in Sunday work and night work, con- 
trary to the convictions of the men."2 
The Committee of the English Government, which Govern- 
ment, in Ire1and, is armed to the teeth, and generally kno"\ys 
ho\v to show it, remonstrates in mild, though funereal, tones 
"public nuisances." Thus the Grand Jury at the quarter session of the Justices of 
the Peace for the County of Somerset, addressed a presentment to the Lower House 
which, a.mong other things, states, "that these factors of Blackwell Hall are a Publio 
Nuisance and Prejudice to the Clothin
 Trade, and ought to be put down as a 
Nuisance." 1'he case of our English 'Vool, &c., London, 1685, p. 6, 7. 
1 First Report, &c. 
2 Report of Committee on the Baking Traùe in Ireland for 18t)}. 



with the in1placable master bakers of Dublin, Limerick, Cork, 
&c.: "The Committee believe that the hours of labour are 
limited by natural laws, which cannot be violated with im- 
punity. 'fhat for Inaster bakers to induce their workmen, by 
the fear of losing emploY1nent, to violate their religious con- 
victions and their better feelings, to disobey the laws of the 
Jand, and to disregard public opinion (this all refers to Sunday 
labour), is calculated to provoke ill-feeling between worlnuen 
and masters, . . . and affords an example dangerous to religion, 
moraHty, and social order. . . . The Committee believe that 
any constant work beyond ] 2 hours a-day encroaches on the 
domestic and private life of the working man, and so leads tc 
disastrous moral results, interfering with each man's borne, and 
the discharge of his family duties as a son, a brother, a husband, 
a father. That work beyond 12 hours has a tendency to 
undermine the health of the working man, and 80 leads to 
premature old age and death, to the great injury of families of 
working men, thus deprived of the care and support of the 
head of the family when most required."l 
So far, we have dealt with Ireland. On the other side of 
the channel, in Scotland, the agricultural labourer, the plough- 
D1an, protests against his 13-14 hours' work in the most in- 
clement climate, with 4 hours' additional work on Sunday (in 
this land of Sabbatarians 1),1 whilst, at the same time, three 
railway men are standing before a London coroner's jury-a 
guard, an engine-driver, a signalman. A tremendous railway 
accident has hurried hundreds of passengers into another 
world. The negligence of the employés is the cause of the 

1 1. c. 
2 Public meeting of agricultural labourers at Lasswade, near Edinburgh, .r anuary 
5th, 1866. (See" 'V orkman's Advocate, " January 13th, 1866.) The formation 
since the close of 1865 of a Trades' Union among the agricultural labourers at first in 
Scotland is a historic event. In one of the most oppressed agricultural districts of 
England, Buckinghamshire, the labourers, in l\Iarch, 1867, made a great strike for 
the raising of their weekly wage from 9-10 shillings to 12 shillings. (It will be seen 
from the preceding passage that the movement of the English agricultural proletariat, 
entirely crushed since the suppression of its violent manifestations after 1830, and 
especially since the introduction of the new Poor Laws, begins again in the sixties, 
until it becomes finally epoch-making in 1872. I return to this in the 2nd volume, 
as well as to the blue books that have appeared since ]861 on the position of the Eng. 
lish land labourers. Addendum to the 3rd ed.) 

23 8 

Caþitalist Production. 

misfortune. 'îhey declare ,vith one voice before the jury that 
ten or twelve years before, their labour only lasted eight hours 
a-day. During the last five or six years it had been screwed 
up to 14, 18, and 20 hours, and under a specially severe pres- 
sure of holiday-makers, at times of excursion trains, it often 
lasted for 40 or 50 hours without a break. They were ordinary 
lnen, not Cyclops. At a certain point their labour-po\ver failed. 
Torpor seized them. Their brain ceased to think, their eyes to 
6ee. The thoroughly" respectable " British jurYlnen ans\vel'ed 
by a verdict that sent them to the next assizes on a charge of 
manslaughter, and, in a gentle "rider" to their verdict, ex- 
pressed the pious hope that the capitalistic n1agnates of the rail- 
,vays would, in future, be more extravagant in the purchase of a 
sufficient quantity of labour-power, and more "abstemious," 
more" f:ielf-denying," more "thrifty," in the draining of paiJ 
la bour- power. 
From the motley crowd of labourers of all callings, ageR, 
sexes, that press on us more busily than the souls of the slain 
on Ulysses, on whom-without referring to the blue books 
under their arms-we see at a glance the mark of over-work, 
let us take two more figures whose striking contrast proves 
that before capital all men are alike-a Inilliner and a black- 

t "Reynolds' Newspa.per," January, 1866.-Every week this fJame paper has, 
under the sensationa.l headings, "Fea.rful and fatal accidents," " Appalling tragedies," 
&c., a whole list of fresh railway catastrophes. On these an employé on the North 
Staffordshire line comments: "Everyone knows the consequences that may occur if 
the driver anù fireman of a locomotive engine are not continually on the look-out. 
Row ca.n that be expected from a. man who has been at such work for 29 or 30 hours, 
expOlled to the weather, and without rest. The following is an example which if> of 
very frequent occurrence :-One fireman commenced work on the l\Ionday morning 
at a very early hour. When he had finished what is callecl a day's work, he had 
beeu on duty 14 hours 50 minutes. Before he had time to get his tea, he was again 
called on for duty. . . . The next time he finished he had been on duty 14 hours 
25 minutes, making a of 29 hours 15 minutes without intermission. The rest 
of the week's work was made up as follows :-Wednesday, 15 hours; Thursday, 15 
hours 35 minutes; Friday, 14
 hours; Saturday, 14 hours 10 minutes, making a 
total for the week of 88 hours 40 minutes. Now, sir, fancy his astonishment on 
being paid 6-1 days for the whole. Thinking it was a mistake, he applied to the time- 
keeper, . . . and inquired what they considered a day's work, and was tolù 13 hours 
for a goods man (i.e., 78 hours). . . . He then asked for what he had made over 
and above the 78 hours per week, but was refused. However, he was at last told 
they would give him another quarter, i.e., 10d." 1. c., 4th Febl'uary, 1866. 

TIle JJ T orki1lg Day. 


In the last week of June, 1863, aU the London daily papers 
published a paragraph with the U sensational " heading, " Death 
from simple over-\vork." It dealt with the deat.h of the 
n1illiner, Mary Anne Walkley, 20 years of age, employed in a 
highly-respectable dressmaking establishment, exploited by a 
lady with the pleasant name of Elise. The old, often-told 
story,t was once more recounted. This girl worked, on an 
average, 16
 hours, during the season often 30 hours, without a 
break, \yhilst her failing labour-power was revived by occasional 
supplies of sherry, port, or coffee. It was just now the height 
of the season. It was necessary to conjure up in the twinkling 
of an eye the gorgeous dresses for the noble ladies bidden to 
the ball in honour of the ne\vly-imported Princess of 'Vales. 

lary Anne \Yalkley had worked without intermission for 26i 
hours, \vith 60 other girls, 30 in one room, that only afforded 1 
of the cubic feet of air required for them. At night, they slept 
in pairs in one of the stifling holes into which the bedroom was 
divided by partitions of board.' And this was one of the best 
nÜllinery establishments in London. Mary Anne \Valkley fell 
ill on the Friday, died on Sunday, without, to the astonish- 
Inent of l\Iadame Elise, having previously completed the work 
in hand. The doctor, 
lr. Keys, called too late to the death- 

1 Ct. F. Engels. 1. c., pp. 253, 254. 
2 Dr. Letheby, Oonsulting Physician of the Board of Health, declared: U The mini- 
mum of air for each adult ought to be in a sleeping room 300, and in a dwelling room 
500 cubic feet." Dr. Richardson, Senior Physician to one of the London Hospitals: 
"'Vith needlewomen of all kinds, including milliners, dressmakers, and ordinary 
sempstresses, there are three miseries-over-work, deficient air, and either deficient 
food or deficient digestion. . . . Needlework, in the main, . . . is infinitely 
better adapted to women than to men. But tho mischiefs of the trade, in the 
metropolis especially, are that it is monopolised by some twenty-six capitalists, who, 
under the advantages that spring from capital, can bring in capital to force economy 
out of labour. This power tells throughout the whole class. If a dressmaker can 
get a little circle of customers, such is the competition that, in her home, she must 
work to the death to hola together, and this same over-work she must of neces
inflict on any who may assist her. If she fail, or do not try independently, she must 
join an establishment, where her labour is not less, but where her money is safe. 
Placed thus, she becomes a mere slave, tossed about with the variations of society. 
1-;ow at home, in one room, starving, or near to it, then engaged 15, 16, aye, even 18 
hours out of the 24, in an air that is scarcely tolerable, and on food which, even if it 
be good, cannot be digested in the absence of pure air. On these victim., consump. 
tion, which is purely & disease of bad air, feeds." Dr. Richardson: " Work and. 
Overwork," in "Social Science Review," 18th July, 1863. 


Caþitalist Production. 

bed, duly bore witness before the coroner's jury that ":à'Iary 
Anne "'tValkley had died from long hours of work in an over- 
crowded workroom, and a too small and badly-ventilated bed- 
room." In order to give the doctor a lesson in good nlanners, 
the coroner's jury thereupon brought. in a verdict that "the 
deceased had died of apoplexy, but there was reason to fear 
that her death had been accelerated by over-,vork in an over- 
crowded workroom, &c." "Our white slaves," cried the 
U Morning Star," the organ of the free-traders, Cobden and 
Bright, {( our white slaves, who are toiled into the grave, for 
the most part silently pine fJ.nd die." 
"It is not in dressmakers' rooms that working to death is 
the order of the day, but in a thousand other places; in every 
place I had almost said, where' a thriving business' has to be 
done. We will take the blacksmith as a type. If 
the poets were true, there is no man so hearty, so merry, as 
the blacksmith; he rises early and strikes his sparks before 
the sun; he eats and drinks and sleeps as no other man. 
Working in moderation, he is, in fact, in one of the best of 
human positions, physically speaking. But we follow him into 
the city or town, and we see the stress of work on that strong 
man, and what then is his position in the death-rate of his 
country. In Marylebone, blacksmiths die at the rate of 31 per 
thousand per annum, or 11 above the mean of the male adults 
of the country in its entirety. The occupation, instinctive 
1 "Morning Star," 23rd June, 1863.-The "Times" made use of the circumstance 
to defend the American slave owners against Bright, &c. "Very many of us think," 
says a leader of July 2nd, 1863, "that, while we work our own young women to 
death, using the scourge of starvation, instead of the crack of the whip, as the instru- 
ment of compulsion, we have scarcely a right to hound on fire and slaughter against 
families who were born slave owners, and who, at least, feed their slaves well, and 
work them lightly." In the same manner, the" Standard," a Tory organ, feU foul 
of the Rev. Newman Hall: "He excommunicated the slave owners, but prays with 
the fine folk who, without remorse, make the omnihus drivers and conductors of 
London, &c., work 16 hours a-day for the wages of a dog. " Finally, spake the oracle, 
Thomas Carlyle, of whom I wrote, in 1850, "Zum TeTJ.fel ist der Genius, der Kultus 
ist geblieben." In a 
hort parable, he reduces the one great event of contemporary 
history, the American Clvil war, to this level, that the Peter of the North wants to 
break the head of the Paul of the South with all his might, because the Peter of the 
North hires his labour by the day, and the Paul of the South hires his by the life. 
(" Macmillan's Magazine." Ilias Americana in nuce. August, 1863.) Thus, the 
bubble of Tory sympathy for the urban workers-by no means for the r
burst at last. 'fhe sum of all is-slavery! 

The W01"killg Day. 

24 1 

almost as a portion of hUlnan art, unobjectionable as a branch 
of hUlnan industry, is made by mere excess of work, tho de- 
stroyer of the man. He can strike so many blows per day, "\\..alk 
80 many steps, breathe 80 many breaths, produce so much 
work, and live an average, Bay of fifty years j he is made to 
strike so many more blows, to walk so many more steps, to 
breathe so Dlany more breaths per day, and to increase alto- 
gether a fourth of his life. He meets the effort; the result is, 
that producing for a limited time a fourth more work, he dic
at 37 for 50." 1 


Constant capital, the means of production, considered fr01n 
the standpoint of the creation of surplus-value, only exist to 
absorb labour, anù with every drop of labour a proportional 
quantity of surplus-labour. \Vhile they fail to do this, their 
Inere existence causes a relative loss to the capitalist, for they 
represent during the time they lie fallo
, a useless advance of 
capital. .Â.nd this loss becomes positive and absolute as soon 
as the intermission of their employment necessitates additional 
outlay at the recommencement of work. The prolongation of 
the working day beyond the limits of the natural day, into 
the night, only acts as a palliative. It quenches only in a slight 
degree the vampire thirst for the living blood of labour. To 
appropriate labour during all the 24 hours of the day is, therefore, 
the inherent tendency of capitalist production. But as it is 
physically impossible to exploit the same individual labour- 
power constantly during the Dight as well as the day, to over- 
come this physical hindrance, an alternation becomes necessary 
between the workpeople whose powers are exhausted by day, 
and those who are used up by night. This alternation may be 
n various ways; e.g., it may be so arranged that part 
of the workers are one week employed on day work, the next 
week on night ,vork. It is well-known that this relay sYHtem, 
this alternation of two sets of workers, held full sway in the 
lull-blooded youth-time of the English cotton manufacture, and 
1 Dr Richardson, L 0. 


Caþitalist Productzon. 

that at the present time it still flourishes, among others, in the 
cotton spinning of the 
{oscow district. Tbis 24 hours' process 
of production exists to-day as a system in many of the 
branches of industry of Great Britain that are still" free," in 
the blast-furnaces, forges, plate-rolling mills, and other metal- 
lurgical establishments in England, Wales, and Scotland. The 
working time hero includes, besides the 24 hours of the 6 
working days, a great part also of the 24 hours of Sunday. 
The wûrkers consist of men and women, adults and children 
of both sexes. The agesof the children and young persons run 
through all intermediate grades, from 8 (in some cases from 6) 
to 18. 1 
In some branches of industry, the girls and women work 
through the night together with the males.' 
Placing on one side the generally injurious influence of night- 
labour,s the duration of the process of production, unbroken dur- 
I Children's Employment Commission. Third Report. London, 1864, p. iv., V., vi. 
2 "Both in Staffonl..hirc and in South Wales young girls and women are emI)loyed 
on the pit banks and on the coke hea.p., not only by day but also by night. This 
practice has been often noticed in Reports presented to Parliament, 80S being attended 
with great and notorious evils. These females employed with the men, hardly dis- 
tinguished from them in their dreøø, and begrimed with dirt and smoke, are exposed 
to the deterioration of cha.racter, arising from the loss of self-respect, which ca.n 
hardly fail to follow from their unfeminine occupation." (1. c. 194., p. xxvi. Cf. 
Foudh Report (1865), 61, p. xiii.) It is the same in glass-works. 
a A iteel manufacturer who employs children in night-labour remarked: u It 
seems but natural that boys who work at night cannot 
leep and get proper rest by 
day, but will be running about." (L o. Fourth Report, 6:{, p. xiii.) On the import- 
ance of øunlight for the maintenance and growth of the body, a physician writes: 
U Light also acts upon the tissues of the boùy directly in hardening them and 8upporting 
their elasticity. The muscles of animals, when they are deprived of a proper amount 
of light, become soft and inelastic, the nervous power loses its tone from defective 
stimulation, and the elabora.tion of all growth seems to be perverted. . . . . . In 
the case of children, constant access to plenty of light during the day, and to the 
direct rays of the Bun for a part of it, is most essential to health. Light assists in the 
elaboration of good pla.stic blood, and hardens the fibre after it has been laid down. 
It a180 acts as a stimulus upon the organs of sight, and by this means brings about 
more activity In the various cerebral functions." Dr. W. Strange, Senior Pl1ysician 
of the Worcester General Hospital, from whose work on "Health" (1864) this 
passage is taken, writes in a letter to :Mr. ",Yhite, one of the commissioners: "I hav
had opportunities formerly, when ;n lancashire, of observing the effects of night-work 
upon children, and I have no hesitation in saying, contra.ry to what some employers 
were fond of asserting, those children who were subjected to it soon suffered in their 
wealth." (1. c. 284., p. 55.) That such a question should furnish the material of 
I'erious controversy, shows plainly how capitalist production acts on the brab- 
functions of capitalists and thdr reta!ners 

The Working Day. 


ing the 24 hours. offers very welcoIne opportunities of exceeding 
the limits of the normal working day, e.g., in the branches of 
industry already mentioned, which are of an exceedingly 
fatiguing nature j the official working day means for each 
worker usually 12 hours by night or day. But the over-,vork 
beyond this amount is in many cases, to use the words of the 
English official report, " tl1lly fearful."l 
.c It is impossible," the report continues, Ie for any mind to 
realise the amount of work described in the following passage
as being performed by boys of from 9 to 12 years of age. . . . 
without coming irresistibly to the conclusion that such abuses 
of the power of parents and of employers can no longer be 
allo\ved to exist."1 
"The practice of boys working at all by day anù night 
turns either in the usual course of things, or at pressing times, 
seems inevitably to open the door to their not unfrequently 
working unduly long hours. These hours are, indeed, in Borne 
cases, not only cruelly but even incredibly long for children. 
Amongst a number of boys it will, of course, not unfrequently 
happen that one or mvre are from some cau:se absent. 'Vhen 
this happens, their place is made up by one or more boys, 
"Tho work in the other turn. That this is a well understood 
system is plain . . . from the answer of the manager of 
some large ròlling-nlills, who, when I asked him how the 
place of the boys absent from their turn ,vas made up, 'I 
daresay, sir, you know that as well as I do,' and admitted the 
fact. "8 
"At a rolling-mill where the proper hours were from 6 a.m. 
to 51 p.m., a boy worked about four nights every \veek till 
8! p.m. at least . . . and this for six months. Another, at 9 
years old, sometimes made three 12-hour shifts running, and, 
when 10, has made two days and two nights running." A 
third, "now 10 . . . worked from 6 a.m. till 12 p.m. three 
nights, and till 9 p.m. the other nights.''' "Another, now 13, 
· . . worked from 6 p.m. till 12 noon next day, for a week 
together, and sometimes for three shifts together, e.g., fronl 
l\Ionday morning till Tuesday night." "Another, no\v ] 2, has 
11. o. 57, p. xii. 2 1. o. Fourth Report (1865)) 58, p. x.ii. 81. c. 


Caþitalist Producli01t. 

worked in an iron foundry at Stavely from 6 a.m. till 12 p.m.. 
for a fortnight on end; could not do it any more." " George 
Allinsworth, age 9, came here as cellar-boy last Friday; next 
morning we had to begin at 3, so I stopped here all night. 
Live five miles off. Slept on the floor of the furnace, over 
head, an apron under me, anù a bit of a jacket over mo. 
The two other days I have been here at 6 a.m. Aye! it is hot 
in here. Before I came here I was nearly a year at the same 
work at some works in the country. Began there, too, at :3 on 
Saturday morning-always did, but was very gain [near] home, 
and could sleep at home. Ot.her days I began at 6 in the morn- 
ing, and gi'en over at 6 or 7 in the evening," &c. 1 

1 1. 0., p. xiii. The degree of culture of these" labour-powers" must naturally be 
lIuch as appears in the following dialogues with one of the commissioners: Jeremiah 
Haynes, age 12-" Four times four is 8; 4 fours are 16. A king is him tha.t has an the 
money and gold. We have a King (told it is a Queen), they can her the Princes!J 
Alexandra. Told that she married the Queen's son. The Queen's son is the Princess. 
Alexandra. A Princess is a man." William Turner, age 12-" Don't live in Eng- 
land. Think it i3 a country, but didn't know before." John Morris, age 14- 
U Have heard øay that God made the world, and that a.Il the people was drownded 
but one; heard say that one was a little bird." 'Villiam Smith, age 15-" God 
made man, man made woman." Edward Ta.ylor, age 15-" Do not know of LOll- 
dOll. JJ Henry 1tIatthewman, age 17-" Ha.d been to chapel, but missed a good many 
times lately. One name that they preached about was Jesus Christ, but I cannùt 
Bay any others, and I cannot tell anything about him. He walll not killed, but diet1 
like other people. He was not the same a8 other people in some ways, because he 
was religious in Bome ways, and others isn't." (1. o. p. xv.) "The devil is a good 
person. I don't know where he lives." "Christ was a wicked man." " This girl spelt 
God as dog, and did not know the name of the queen." (" Oh. Employment Comm. 
V. Report, 1866," p. 55, n. 278.) The same system obtains in the glass and paper 
works as in the metallurgical, already cited. In the paper factories, where the paper 
is made by machinery, night-work Ï8 the rule for all processes, except rag-sorting. 
In Borne cases night-work, by relays, is carried on incessantly through the whole week, 
usuaIIy from Sunday night until midnight of the following Saturday. Those who are 
on day-work work 5 days of 12, and 1 day of 18 hours; those on night-work 5 nights of 
12, and 1 of 6 hours in each week. In other cases each set works 24 hours consecu- 
tively on alternate days, one set working 6 hours on Monday, and 18 on Saturday 
to make up the 24 hours. In other cases an intermediate system prevails, by which 
.n employed on the paper-making machinery work 15 or 16 houri every day in the 
week. This system, says Commissionel Lord, "seems to combine all the evils of 
both the 12 hours' and the 24 hours' reIay
." Children under 13, young persons under 
18, and women, work under this night system. SometimeJII under the 12 hours
system they are obliged, on account of the non-appearance of those that ought to 
relieve them, to work a double turn of 24 houri. The evidence proves that boys 
and girls very often work over-time, which, not un frequently, extends to 24 or even 36 
hours of uninterrupted toil. In the continuous and unvarying process of glazing are 
foued girii of 12 who work the whole month 14 hours a day, "without any regular 

The I-VorkÙlg Day. 


Let UB now hea.r how capital itself regards this 24 hours' 
ßystem. The extreme forms of the system, its abuse in the 
., cruel and incredible" extension of the working day are natur- 
ally passed over in silence. Capital only speaks of the system 
in its U normal " form. 
!\-Jessrs. Naylor & Vickers, steel Inanufacturers, who employ 
hetween 600 and 700 persons, among ,vhom only 10 per cent. 
[ire under 18, and of those, only 20 boys under 18 work in 
night sets, thus express themselves: Ie The boys do Dot suffer 
from the heat. The temperature is probably from 86 0 to 90 0 . 
. . At the for
es and in the rolling-mills the hands 
work night and day, in relays, but all the other parts of the 
work arc day ,vork, i.e., from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the forge the 
bours are froln 12 to 12. Some of the hands ahvays work in 
the night, without any alternation of day and night ,york. 
\Ve do not find any difference in the health of those 
who work regularly by night and those who work by day, and 
probably people can sleep better if they have the same period 
of rest than if it is changed . About 20 of the boys 
under the age of 18 work in the night sets. We 
could not well do without lads under 18 working by night. 
The objection would be the increase in the cost of production. 
Skilled hands and the heads in every department 
are difficult to get, but of lads "\ve could get any number. 
But from the small proportion of boys that we employ. 
the subject (i.e., of restrictions on night work) is of little im- 
y>ortance or interest to us."! 

lr. J. Ellis, one of the firm of 
1essrs. John Brown & Co., 
steel and iron works, employing about 3000 Inen and boys, part 
.of ,vhose operations, namely, iron and heavier steel work, goes 
on night and day by relays, states (C that in the heavier steel 
work one or two boys are employed to a score or two men." 
Their concern employs upwards of 500 boys under 18, of \vhom 
out t or 170 are under the age of 13. \Vith reference to the 

relief or celsation beyond 2 Of. at most, 3 breaks of half- an-hour each for meals." In 
.orne mills. where regula.r night-work has been entirely given up, over-work goeø on 
to a terrible extent, "and that often in the dirtiest, and in the hottest, and in the 
most monotonous of the various processes." (" Ch. Employment Comm. Report 
IV., 1865," p. xxxvüi. and xxxix.) 1 Fourth Report, &c., 1865. 19, p. 1..YÍ. 

24 6 

Caþitalist P1'oduction. 

proposed alteration of the law, Mr Ellis says: Ie I do not think 
it would be very objectionable to require that no person under 
the age of 18 should work more than 12 hours in the 24. But 
we do not think that any line could be drawn over the age of 
12, at which boys could be dispensed with for Dight work. But 
we would sooner be prevented from employing boys under the 
age of 13, or even so high as 14, at all, than not be allowed to 
employ boys that we do have at night. Those boys who 
work in the day sets must take their turn in the night seta also, 
because the men could not work in the night sets only; it 
would ruin their health. . . . . We think, however, that. 
night work in alternate weeks is no harm. (Messrs. Na.ylor & 
Vickers, on the other hand, in conformity with the interest of 
their business, considered that periodically changed night-labour 
might possibly do more harm than continual night-labour.) "
find the men ,vho do it, as well as the others who do other 
,york only by day. . . . . . . Our objections to not. 
allowing boys under 18 to work at night, would be on account 
of the increase of expense, but this is the only reason. (What 
cynical naïveté !) We think that the increase would be more 
than the trade, ,vith due regard to its being successfully carried 
out, could fairly bear. (What mealy-mouthed phraseology I) 
Labour is scarce here, and might fan short if there were such 
a regulation." (i.e., Ellis Brown & Co. might fall into the fatal 
perplexity of being obliged to pay labour-power its full value'h 
The U Cyclops Steel and Iron 'V orks," of Messrs. Cammell & 
Co., are conducted on the same large scale as those of the above 
mentioned John Brown & Co. The managing director had 
handed in his evidence to the Government Commissioner, Mr. 
\Vhite, in writing. Later he found it convenient to suppress 
the MS. when it had been returned to him for revision. 
\Vhite, however, has a good memory. He remembered quite 
clearly that for the 1Ylessrs. Cyclops the forbidding of the night- 
labour of children and young persons" would be impossible, it 
would be tantamount to stopping their works," and yet their 
business employs little more than 6 % of boys under 18, and 
less than 1 010 under 13. 2 
1 1. c. 80, p. xvi. I 1. c. 82, p. xvii. 

The TVorki1zg Da)1. 


On the san1e subject 
Ir. E. F. Sanderson, of the firm of 
Sanderson, Bros., & Co., steel rolling-mills and..forgeB, Attercliffe, 
says: (( Great difficulty ,vould be caused by preventing boys 
under 18 from working at night. The chief ,vould be the in- 
crease of cost from employing men instead of boys. I cannot 
say what this would be, but probably it would not be enough 
to enable the manufacturer::, to raise the price of steel, and eon- 
sequently it would fall un them, as of course the IDen (,vhat 
queer-headed folk!) ,vould refuse to pay it." 
Ir. San- 
derson does not kno\v how much he pays the children, but 
I( perhaps the younger boys get from 4s. to 58. a week. 

rhe boys' work is of a kind for which the strength of the boys 
is generally (' generally,' of course not always) quite sufficient, 
and consequently there would be no gain in the greater strength 
of the men to counterbalance the loss, or it would be only in 
the fe\v cases in ,vhich the metal is heavy. The n1en would 
not like so well not to have boys under thom, as men would be 
less obedient. Besides, boys must begin young to learn the 
trade. Leaving day work alone open to boys would not ans,vcr 
t.his purpose." And why not 1 Why could not bOYB learn 
their handicraft in the day-time ? Your reason 1 "Owing to 
the men working days and nights in alternate weeks, the ll1en 
would be separated half the time from their boys, and would 
lose half the profit which they make from them. The training 
which they give to an apprentice is considered as part of the 
return for the boys' labour, and thus enables the men to get it 
at a cheaper rate. Each man would want half of this profit." 
In other words, Messrs. Sanderson would have to pay part of 
the wages of the adult men out of their own pockets instead of 
by the night work of the boys. Messrs. Sanderson's profit 
\vould thus fall to some extent, and this is the good Sandersonian 
reason why boys cannot learn their handicraft in the day.l In 
addition to this, it would throw night labour on those who 
worked instead of the boys, which they would not be able to 

1 In our reflecting and reasoning age a. man is not worth much who cannot give a 
good rea
n for everything, no matter how bad or how crazy. Everything in the 
world that has been done wrong has been done wrong for the very best of reasonB.. 
(Hegel, 1. c., p. 249.) 

24 8 

Caþzlalist Production. 

stand. The difficulties in fact would be 80 great that they 
would very likely lead to the giving up of night work altogether, 
and" as far as the work itself is concerned," says E. F. Sander- 
son, "this would suit as well, but--" But Messrs. Sanderson 
have something e]se to make besides steel. Steel-making is 
simply a pretext for surplus- value making. The smelting 
furnaces, rolling-nlills, &c., the buildings, machinery, iron, coal, 
&c., have something more to do than transform thelnselves into 
steel. They are there to absorb surplus-labour, !tnd naturally 
absorb more in 24 hours than in 12. In fact they give, by 
grace of God and law, the Sandersons a cheque on the working 
tiIne of a certain number of hands for all the 24 hours of the 
day, and they lose their character as capital, are therefore a 
pure loss for the Sandersons, as soon as their function of 
absorbing labour is interrupted. "But then there would be 
the loss from so much expensive machinery, lying idle half the 
 and to get through the amount of work which we are able 
to do on the present system, we should have to double our 
premises and plant, which ,vould double the outlay." But \vhy 
should these Sandersons pretend to a privilege not enjoyed by 
the other capitalists who only work during the day, and whose 
buildings, machinery, raw material, therefore lie" idle" during 
the night 1 E. F. Sanderson answers in the name of all the 
Sandersons: "It is true that there is this loss from machinery 
lying idle in those manufactories in "Thich work only goes on 
by day. But the use of furnaces would involve a further loss 
in our case. If they were kept up there would be a waste of 
fuel (instead of, as now, a waste of the living substance of the 
workerR), and if they were not, there would be loss of time in 
laying the fires and getting the heat up (\vhils.t the loss of 
sleeping time, even to children of 8 is a gain of working 
time for the Sanderson tribe), and the furnaces themselves 
would suffer from the changes of temperature." (\Vhilst those 
same furnace8 suffer nothing from the day and night change of 
labour. )1 
11. c. 85, p. xvii. To similar tender scruples of the glass manufacturers that regular 
meal times for the children are impossihle because as a consequence a certain quantity 
of heat, radiated by the furnaces, would be "a. pure loss" or "wasted," Com- 
missioner White makE"s answer. His answer is unlike that of Ure J S{'nior. &c.. and 

The TfTork-ing Day. 



U \Vhat is a v.
orking day? What is the length of tilue 
during ,vhich capital lnay consulne the labour-po,ver whose 
daily value it buys 1 How far may the working day be ex- 
tended beyond the working time necessary for the reproduction 
of labour-power itself?" It has been seen that to these 
questions capital replies: the working day contains the full 24 
hours, ,vith the deduction of the few hour::) of repose without 
,vhich labour-power absolutely refuses its sel
vice8 again. 
lIence it is self-evident that the labourer is nothing else, his 
\vhole life through, than labour-power, that therefore all his 
disposable time is by nature and law labour-time, to be devoted 
tû the self-expansion of capital. Time for education, for 
intellectual development, for the fulfilling of Bocial function
and for social intercourse, for the free-play of his bodily and 
mental activity, even the rest time of Sunday (and that in a 
their puny German plagiarists à 1a Roscher who arc touched I:>y the cc abstinence," 
"self-denial," U saving," of the capitalists in the expenditure of their gold, and by their 
'l'imur-Tamerlanish prodigalitY' of human lüe 1 U A certain amount of heat beyond 
what is usual at present might also be going to waste, if meal times were secured in 
these cases, but it "cems likely not equal in money-value to the waste of animal 
power now going on in glass-houses throughout the kingdom from growing boys not 
having enough quiet time to eat thcir meals at ease, with a little reßt afterwards for 
èigestion." (1. c., p. xlv.) And this in the year of progrcss 1865 1 'Vithout con- 
sidering the expenditure of strength in lifting and carrying, Buch a child, in the sheds 
where bottle and flint glass are made, walks during the performance of his work 15-20 
miles in every 6 hours! And the work often lasts 14 or 15 hourB! In many of 
these glass ,vorke, &Ø in the MOBCOW spinning mills, the system of 6 houri' relays is in 
force. "During the working part of the week six hourø is the utmost unbroken 
period ever attained at anyone time for rest, and out of this ha. to come the time 
spent in coming and going to and from work, washing, dressing, and meals, leaving a 
very øhort period indeed for rest, and none for fresh air and play, unless at the expense 
vf the sleep necessary for young boys, t}specially at such hot and fatiguing work. . 
. . . Even the short sleep is obviously liable to be broken by & boy having to wake 
himself if it is night, or by the noise, if it is day." l\Ir 'Vhite gives cases where a boy 
worked 36 conøecutive hours; others where boys of 12 drudged on until 2 in the morn- 
ing, and then slept in the works till 5 &.m. (3 hourø I) only to reøume their work. 
,. The amount of work," say Tremenheere and Tufnell, who drafted the general 
report, "done by boys, youtht'l, girls, and women, in the course of their daily or 
nightly spell of labour, is certainly extraordinary." (1. c., xliii. and xliv.) Meanwhile, 
late by night perhaps, self-denying :Mr. Glass-Capital, primed with port-wine, recls out 
of his club homeward droning out idiotically, " Britons never, never 6hall be slaves I' 

Caþ'llalist Product-ion. 
country of Sabbatarians 1)1-moonshine ! But in its blinJ 
nnrestrainable passion, its were-wolf hunger for surplus-labour, 
capital oversteps not only the moral, but even the merely 
physical maximum bounds of the working day. It usurps the 
time for growth, development, and healthy n1aintenance of 
the body. It steals the time required for the consumption of 
fresh air and sunlight. It higgles over a meal-time, incorpor- 
ating it where possible with the process of production itself, so 
that food is wven to the labourer as to a mere means of pro- 
duction, as coal is supplied to the boiler, grease and oil to the 
macbinery. It reduces the sound sleep needed for the resto- 
ration, reparation, refreshment of the bodily powers to just so 
nlany hours of torpor as the revival of an organism, absolutely 
exhausted, renders essential. I t is not the normal maintenance 
of the labour-power which is to determine the limits of the 
working day; it is the greatest possible daily expenditure of 
labour-power, no matter how diseased, compulsory, and painful 
it may be, which is to determine the limits of the labourers' 
period of repose. Capital cares nothing for the length of life 
of labour-power. All that concerns it is simply and solely the 
maximum of labour-power, that can be rendered fluent in a 
working day. It attains this end by shortening the extent of 
the labourer's life, as a greedy farmer snatches increased pro- 
duce from the soil by robbing it of its fertility. 
The capitalistic mode of production (essentially the pro- 
duction of surplus-value, the absorption of surplus-labour), 
produces thus, with the extension of the working day, not only 
the deterioration of human labour-power by robbing it of its 


1 In England even now occalliona.lly in rural di!tricts a labourer il!l condemned to 
imprisonment for deøecrating the Sabbath, by working in his front garden. The t'lame 
labourer Ia punished for breach of contract ü he remains away from his metal, paper, 
or glass works on the Sunday, even if it be from a religious whim. The orthoùox 
Parliament will hear nothing of Sabbath-brea.king if it occurs in the process of ex- 
panding capital. A memorial (Auguøt 1863), in which the London day-labouren in 
fish and poultry shops asked for the abolition of Sunday labour, I!Itates that their work 
lasts for the first 6 day. of the week on an average 15 hours a-day, and on Sunday 
8-10 houra. From this Bame memorial we learn also that the delicate gourmandø 
among the aristocratic hypocrite. of Exeter Hall, eflpecially encourage this" Sunday 
labour." Theae" holy ones," so zea.lou. in cuu curanda, show their Christianity by 
the humility with which they bear the overwork, the privations, and the hunger of 
othera. Ob,equium ventris istis (the labourers) pe1'niciosiu8 t

The IVorkilzg Day. 

25 1 

normal, moral and physical, conditions of development and 
function. It produces also the premature exhaustion and death 
of this labour-power itself. l It extends the labourer's time of 
production during a given period by shortening his actual lifc- 
But the value of the labour-power includes the value of the 
comn1odities necessary for the reproduction of the worker, or 
for the keeping up of the working class. If then the unnatural 
extension of the working day, tbat capital necessarily 8trives 
after in its unmeasured passion for self-expansion, shortens the 
length of life of the individual labourer, and therefore the 
duration of his labour-power, the forces used up have to be re- 
placed at a more rapid rate and the sum of the expenses for 
the reproduction of labour-power \vill be greater; just as in a 
machine the part of its value to be reproduced every day is 
greater the more rapidly the machine is worn out. It would 
seem therefore that the interest of capital itself points in the 
direction of a normal working day. 
1'he slave-owner buys his labourer as be buys bis horse. If 
he loses his slave, he loses capital that can only be restored by 
new outlay in the slave-mart. But" the rice-grounds of 
Georgia, or the swamps of the 
Iississippi may be fatally in- 
jurious to the human constitution; but the waste of human 
life which the cultivation of these districts necessitates, is not 
so great that it cannot be repaired from the teeming preserves 
of Virginia and Kentucky. Considerations of economy, more- 
oyer, ,vhich, under a natural system, afford some security for 
humane treatment by identifying the master's interest with 
the slave's preservation, when once trading in slaves is practised
become reasons for racking to the uttermost the toil of the 
slave; for, when his place can at once be supplied from foreign 
preserves, the duration of his life becomes a matter of less 
moment than its productiveness while it lasts. It is accord- 
ingly a Inaxim of slave management, in slave-ÎIDporting 
countries, that the most effective economy is that which takes 

1 "'Ve have given in our previous reportt'l the statements of several experienced 
manufacturers to the effect tha.t over-hours. . . . certainly tend prematurely to ex 
haust the working power of the men." (1. c. 64, p. xiii.) 

25 2 

CaPitalist Production. 

out of the human chattel in the shortest space of time the 
utmost amount of exertion it is capable of putting forth. It 
is in tropical culture, where annual profits often equal the 
whole capital of plantations, that negro life is 11lOst recklessly 
sacrificed. It is the agriculture of the West Indies, \vhich has 
been for centuries prolific of fabulous wealth, that has engulfed 
Inillions of the African race. It is in Cuba, at this day, wlJose 
revenues are reckoned by millions, and whose planters are 
princes, that we see in the servile class, the coarsest fare, the 
most exhausting and unremitting toil, and even the absolute 
destruction of a portion of its numbers every year."l 
l11utato nomine de te fabula narratur. For slave-trade 
read labour-market, for Kentucky and Virginia, Irelanù and 
the agricultural districts of England, Scotland, and Wa1es, 
for Africa, Germany. We heard how over-work thinned the 
ranks 'Jf tbe bakers in London. Nevertheless, the London 
lab(ur-market is always over-stocked with German and other 
candidates tòr death in the bakeries. Pottery, as \ve saw, is 
one of the shortest-lived industries. Is there any \vant there- 
fore of potters? Josiah \\1' edgwood, the inventor of modern 
pottery, himself originally a common \vorkman, said in 1785 
before the House of Commons that the whole traùe employed 
from 15,000 to 20,000 people.' In the year 1861 the population 
alone of the to\vn centres of this industry in Great Britain 
numbered 101,302. "The cotton trade has existed for ninety 
years. . . . It has existed for three generations of the English 
race, and I believe I may safely say that during that period it 
has destroyed nine generations of factory operati ves."3 
No doubt in certain epochs of feverish activity the labour- 
market shows significant gaps. In 1834, e.g. But then the 
manufacturers proposed to the Poor Law COlumissioners that 
they should Bend the" surplus-population " of the agricultural 
districts to the north, \vith the explanation "that the manu- 
facturers would absorb and use it np."4 (( Agents were a,p-- 
pointed with the consent of the Poor Law Commissioners. . . . 
1 Oairnes, "The Slave Power," p. 110, 111. 
2 John \Vard: "History of the Borough of Stoke-upon -Trent," London, 1843, p. 42. 
a Ferrand's Speech in the House of Commons, 27th April, 1863. 
4 U Those were the very wOl'ds used by the cotton manufacturers." 1. c. 

The ll/orki11f[ Day. 


An office was set up in l\tJanchester, to which lists were sent of 
those workpeople in the agricultural districts wanting employ- 
ment, and their names were registered in books. The manu- 
facturers attended at these offices, and selected such persons as 
they chose; \vhen they had selected such persons as their 
',vants required,' they gave instructions to have them for- 
warded to 
fanchester, and they were sent, ticketed like bales 
of goods, by canals, or with carriers, others tramping on the 
road, and many of them were found on the way lost and half- 
starved. This system had grown up into a. regular trade. 
This House will hardly believe it, but I tell them, that this 
traffic in human flesh was as well kept up, they were in effect 
as regularly sold to these Utlanchester] manufacturers as slaves 
are sold to the cotton-grower in the United States. . . . . . In 
1860, c the cotton trade was at its zenith.' . . . . The manu- 
facturers again found that they were short of hands. . . . They 
applied to the' flesh agents,' as they are ca1led. Those agents 
sent to the southern downs of England, to the pastures of Dor- 
setshire, to the glades of Devonshire, to the people tending 
kine in Wiltshire, but they sought in vain. The surplus- 
population was C absorbed.' " The C( Bury Guardian" said, on 
the completion of the French treaty, that u 10,000 additional 
hands could be absorbed by Lancashire, and that 30,000 or 
40,000 will be needed." After the "flesh agents and sub- 
agents" had in vain sought through the agricultural districts, 
"a deputation came up to London, and waited on the right hone 
gentleman [
Ir. Villiers, President of the Poor Law Board] with 
a view of obtaining poor children from certain union houses 
for the miHs of Lancashire."l 

1 1. c. Mr. Villierø, despite the belt of intentions on bls part, was" legally" obliged 
to refuse the requests of the manufacturers. These gentlemen, however. attained 
their end through the obliging nature of the local poor law boards. l\Ir. A. Redgrave, 
Inspector of Factories, asserts that this time the system under which orphans and 
pauper children were treated U legally!) as apprentices U was not accompanied with 
the old abuses n (on these "abuses" see Engels, 1. c.), although in one case there 
certainly was " abuse of this system in respect to a number of girls and young women 
brought from the agricultural districts of Scotland into Lancashire and Cheshire. " 
Under this system the manufacturer entered into a. contract with the workhouse 
authorities for a certain period. He fed, clothed, and lodged the children, and gave 
them a small allowance of money. A remark of Mr. Redgrave to be quoted directly 
aeems strange, especially if we consider that even among the years of prosperity of 


Ct/'þztatist Production. 

What experience shows to the capitalist generally is a con- 
stant excess of popula.tion, i.e., an excess in relation to tho 
momentary requirements of surplus-labour-absorbing capital, 
although this excess is made up of generations of humán beings 
stunted, sbort-lived, swiftly replacing each other, plucked, so 
to say, before maturity.1 And, indeed, experience shows to the 
intelligent observer with what swiftness and grip the capitalist 
mode of production, dating, historically speaking, only from 
yesterday, has seized the vital power of tbe people by the very 
root-shows how the degeneration of the industrial population 
is only retarded by the constant absorption of primitive and 
physically uncon'upted elementß from the country-sbows how 
even the country labourers, in spite of fresh air and the principle 
of natural selection, that works so powerfully amongst them, 
the English cotton trade, the year 1860 stands unparalleled, and that, bcsideB, wages 
were exceptionally high. For this extraordinary demand for work had to contend 
with the depopulation of Irela.nd, with unexampled emigration from the English and 
Scotch agricultura.l districts to Australia and America., with an actual diminution of 
the population in 80me of the English agricultural district:!, in consequence partly of 
an actual breakdown of tho vital force of the labourers, partly of the already effected 
diøpersion of the disposable population through the dealers in human flesh. Despite 
all this :Mr. Rcdgrave says: "This kind of labour, however, would only be sought 
after when none other could be procured, for it is a high-priced labour. The ordint\,ry 
wages of a boy of 13 would be about 48. per week, but to lodge, to clothe, to feed, and to 
provide medica.l a.ttcndance and proper BUl)erintendence for 50 or 100 of thesc boys, and 
to Bet aBide Borne remuneration for them, could not be accomplished for 4s. a-head per 
week." (Report of the Inspector of Factories for 30th April, 1860, p. 27.) Mr. Red- 
grave forgets to tell us how the labourer himself can do a.ll this for his children out 
of tbeir 48. a-week wages, when the manufacturer cannot do it for the 50 or 100 
children lodged, boarded, superintended all together. To guard against false con- 
clusions from the text, I ought here to remark that the Engli!th cotton inùustry, since 
it wa! placed under the Factory Act of 1850 with its regula.tions of lahour-timt', &c., 
must be regarded as the model industry of England. The English cotton operative is 
in every resp
ct better off than his continental companion in misery. "The Prussian 
fa.ctory operative labours at least ten hours per week more than his English competi- 
tor, and if employed at his own loom in his own house, his labour is not restricted 
to even those additional hours." (" Rep. of Insp. of .Fact.," Oct. 1853, p. 103.) Red- 
grave, the Factory In8pector mentioned above, after the Industrial Exhibition in 1851, 
travelled on the COlltinent, especially in France and Germany, for the purpose of 
inquiring into the conl1itions of the factories. Of the Prussian operative he says: 
" He receives a remunE>ration sufficient to procure the simple fare, and t3 supply the 
slender comforts to which be has been a.ccustomed. . . . . . he lives upon his coarse 
fare, a.nd works hard, wherein his position is subordinate to that of the English oper
tive." (" Rep. of Insp. of Fact.," 31st Oct., 1853, p. 85.) 
1 The overworked "die off with strange rapi,lity; but the places of those who 
perish are instantly filled, and a frequent change of persons makes no alteration in the 
Icene." ("England and America." London, 1833, vol. I, p. 55. By E. G. 'Vakefield.) 

The TT 7 0rking Day. 


and only permits the survival of the strongest, are already be- 
ginning to die Off1 Capital that has such good rea.<:;ons for 
denying the sufferings of the legions of workers that surround 
it, is in practice moved as much and as litt1e by the sight of 
the coming degradation and final depopulation of the human 
race, as by the probable fall of the earth into the sun. In every 
stock-jobbing swindle every one knows that some time or other 
the crash must corne, but everyone hopes that it may fall on 
the head of his neighbour, after he himself has caught the 
8ho,ver of gold and placed it in safety. Apr
8 moi le déluge I 
is the watch word of every capitalist and of every 'capitalist 
nation. Hence Capital is reckless of the health or length of 
life of the labourer, unless under compulsion frolD society.' To 
the outcry as to the physical and mental degradation, the pre- 
mature death, the torture of overwork, it answers: Ought these 
to trouble us since they increase our profits 1 But looking at 
things as a whole, all this ùoes not, indeed, depend on the good 
or ill will of the individual capitalist. Free competition brings 
out the inherent laws of capitalist production, in the sLape of 
external coercive having power over every individual 

1 See" Public Health. Sixth Report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Council, 
1363. " Published in London 1864. This report deals especially with the agricultural 
labourers. "Sutherland... is commonly represented as a highly improved county 
. . . but. . . recent inquiry has discovered that even there, in districts once famous 
for fine men antI gallant 80ldiers, the inhabitants have degenerated into a meagre and 
stunted race. In the healthiest situation., on hill sides fronting the sea., the faces of 
their famished children are as pale as they could be in the foul atmosphere of a. 
London alley." (W. T. Thornton. U Over-population and its remedy." 1. c., p. 74, 
75.) They resemble in fact the 30,000 "gallant Highla.nders" whom Glasgow pigs 
together in its wynds and closes, with prostitutes and thieves. 
2" But though the health of a population is so important a fact of the national 
capital, we are afraid it must be said that the class of employers of labour have not 
been the most forward to guard and cherish this treasure. . . . The consideration of 
the health of the operatives was forced upon the millowners. ("Times," November 
5th, ] 861.) " The men of the West Riding became the clothiers of mankind . . . . 
the health of the workpeople wa.s sacrificed, and the race in 0. few generations must 
have degenerated. But a reaction Bet in. Lord Shaftesbury's Bill limited the hOUIS 
of children's labour," &c. (" Report of the Registrar-General," for October 1861.) 
3 We, therefore, find, e.g., that in the beginning of 1863, 26 firms owning extensive 
potteries in Staffordshire, amonget other!!!, J osiab Wedgwood, & Sons' petition in a 
memorial for" some legislative enactment." Competition with other capitalists per- 
mits them no voluntary limitation'of working-time for children, &c. " Much as we 
deplore the evils before mentioned, it would not be possible to prevent them by any 

25 6 

Caþitalist Productl:on. 

The establisbment of a normal working day is the result or 
centuries of struggle between capitalist and labourer. rrhe 
history of this struggle shows two opposed tendencies. Com- 
pare, e.g., the English factory legislation of our time with the 
English Labour Statutes from the 14th century to well into 
the middle of the 18th. l \Vhilst the modern Factory Acts com- 
pulsorily shO'rtened the working-day, the earlier statutes tried 
to lengthen it by compulsion. Of course the pretensions of 
capital in embryo-when, beginning to grow, it secures the 
l'ight of absorbing a quantum sufficit of surplus-labour, not 
merely by the force of economic relations, but by the help of 
the State-appear very modest when put face to face with the 
concessions that, growling and struggling, it has to make in its 
adult condition. It takes centuries ere the "free" labourer, 
thanks to the development of capitalistic production, agrees, 
i.e., is comp
lled by social conditions, to sell the whole of his 
acti ve life, his very capacity for work, for the price of the 
necessaries of life, his birthright for a mess of pottage. Hence 
it is natural that the lengthening of the working day, which 
capital, from the middle of the 14th to the end of the 17th 
century, tries to impose by State-lneasures on adult labourers, 
approximately coincides with the shortening of the working 
day which, in the second half of the 19th century, has here and 
there been effected by the State to prevent the coining of 
children's blood into capital. That which to-day, e.g., in the 
State of Massachusetts, until recently the freest State of the 
North-American Republic, has been proclaimed as the statutory 
scheme of agreement between the manufacturers. . . . Taking all these points into 
consideration, we have come to the conviction that Borne legislative enactment is 
wanted." ("Children'sEmploymentComm."Rep. 1., 1863, p. 322.) l\Iostrecentlya. 
much more striking example offers. The rise in the price of cotton during a period 
of feverish activity, had induced the manufacturers in Blackburn to shorten, by 
mutual consent, the working-time in their mills during a certain fixed period. This 
period termina.ted about the end of November, 1871. Meanwhile, the wealthier 
maIlufacturers, who oombined spinning with weaving, used the diminution of produc- 
tion resulting from this agreement, to extend their own business and thus to make 
great profits at the expense of the small employers. The latter thereupon turned in 
their extremity to the operatives, urg(>d them earnestly to agitate for the 9 hours
øystem, and promised contributions in money to this end. 
1 The Labour Statutes, the like of which were enacted at the same time in France, 
the Netherlands, and elsewhere, were first formally repealed in EngJalld in 1813, long 
after the changes in methods of production had rendered them obsolete. 

The Workz'1Zg Day. 


limIt of the labour of children under 12, was in England, even 
in the middle of the 17th century, the normal working-day of 
able-bodied artizans, robust labourers, athletic blacksmiths. l 
The first "Statute of Labourers" (23 Edward 111., 1349) 
found its immediate pretext (not its cause, for le.gislation of 
this kind lasts centuries after the pretext for it has disappeared) 
in the great plague that decimated the people, so that, as a Tory 
writer says, "The difficulty of getting men to work on reason- 
able terms (i.e., at a price that left their employers a reasonable 
quantity of surplus-labour) grew to such a height as to be quite 
intolerable.''' Reasonable wages were, therefore, fixed by law 
as well as the limit
 of the working day. The latter point, the 
only one that here interests us, is repeated in the Statute of 
1496 (Henry VIII.). The workin
 day for aU artificers and 
field labourers from March to Beptem ber ought, according to 
this statute (which, however, could not be enforced), to last from 
5 in the morning to between 7 and 8 in the eveniI!
. But the 
meal times consist of 1 hour for breakfast, Ii hours for dinner. 
and! an hour for" noon-meate," i.e., exactly twice as much as 
under the factory acts now in force.. In winter, work was to 

1 II No child under 12 years of age shall be employed in any manufacturing estab- 
lishment more than 10 hours in one day." General Statutes of 1rlassachusetts, G3. 
ch. 12. (The various Statutes were passed between 1836 and 1858.) "Labour per- 
formed during a. period of 10 hours on any day in all cotton, woollen, silk, paper, 
glass, and flax factories, or in manufactories of iron and brass, shall be considered a 
legal day's labour. And be it enacted, that hereafter no minor engaged in any factory 
shall be holden or required to work more than 10 hours in any day, or 60 hours in allY 
week; and that hereafter no minor shall be admitted as a worker under the age of 
10 years in any factory within this State." State of New Jersey. An Act to limit 
the hours of labour, &c., 61 and 62. {Law of 11th :March, 1855.) " No minor who has 
attained the age of 12 years, and is under the age of 15 years, shall be employed in 
any manufacturing establishment more than 11 hours in anyone day, nor before 5 
o'clock in the morning, nor after 1.30 in the evening." (" Revised Statutes of the 
State of Rhode Island," &c., ch. 39, 
 23, 1st July, 1851.) 
t " Sophisms of Free Trade." 7th Ed. London, 1850, p. 205. 9th Ed., p. 253. Thi3 
lame Tory, moreover, admits that II Acts of Parliament regula.ting wages, but against 
the labourer and in favour of the master, lasted for the long period of 464 years. 
Population grew. These laws were then found, and really became, unnecessary and 
burdensome. >> (1. c., p. 206.) 
· In reference to this statute, J. Wade with truth remarks: C& From the statement 
above (i.e., with regard 
o the statute) it appears that in 1496 the diet was considered 
equivalent to one third of the income of an artificer and one-half the income of a 
labourer, which indicates a greater degree of independence among the working classes 
.hu prevails at pl'esent; for the board, both of 
bourers and artificers, would now 

25 8 

Caþitalist Production. 

last from 5 in the morning until dark, with the same intervals. 
A statute of Elizabeth of 1562 leaves the length of the work- 
ing day for all labourers " hired for daily or weekly wage" Ull- 
touched, but aims at limiting the intervals to 21 hours in the 
summer, or to 2 in the winter. Dinner is only to last 1 hour, 
and the "afternoon-sleep of half an hour" is only allowed 
between the middle of May and tbe middle of August. F<?l' 
every hour of absence ld. is to be subtracted from the wage. 
In practice, however, the conditions were much more favourable 
to the labourers than in the statute-book. William Petty, the 
father of political economy, and to some extent the founder of 
Statistics, says in a work that he published in the last third of 
the 17th century: "Labouring-01en(then meaning field-labourers) 
"\vork 10 hours per diem, and make 20 meals per week, viz., 3 
a day for working days, and 2 on Sundays; whereby it is plain, 
that if they could fast on Fryday nights, and dine in one hour 
and an half, whereas they take two, from eleven to one; thereby 
this working h more, and spending 
 less, the above-men- 
tioned {tax) might be raised."l Was not Dr. Andrew U re right 
in crying down the 12 hours' bill of 1833 as a retrogression to 
the times of the dark ages 1 It is true, these regulations con- 
tained in the statute mentioned by Petty, apply also to ap- 
prentices. But the condition of child-labour, even at the end 
of the 17th century, is seen from the following complaint: 
"'Tis not their practice (in Germany) as with us in this king- 
dom, to bind an apprentice for seven years; three or four is 
their COlllmon standard: and the reason is, because they are 
educated from their cradle to something of employment, which 
renders them the more apt and docile, and consequently the more 
capable of attaining to a ripeness and quicker proficiency in 
business. \Vhereas our youth, here in England, being bred to 
nothing before they come to be apprentices, make a very slow' 

be reckoned a.t a much higher proportion of their wages." (J. Wade, n History of the 
Middle and Working Classes," p. 24, 25, and 577.) The opinion that this difference is 
due to the difference in the price-relations between food and cbthing then and now 
is refuted by the most cursory glance at "Chronicon Pretiosum, &c." By Bishop 
Fleetwood. 1st Ed., London, 1707; 2d Ed., London, 1745. 
1 'V. Petty, "Political Anatomy of Ireland, Verbum Sapienti," 1672, Ed. 1691, 
p. 10. 

The JVorki1zg Day. 


progress and require much longer time wherein to reach the 
perfection of accomplished artists."l 
Still, during the greater part of the 18th century, up to the 
epoch of 1Ylodern Industry and machinism, capital in England 
had not succeeded in seizing for itself: by the payment of the 
weekly value of labour-po"Yt
er, the whole week of the labourer, 
with the exceptioIl, however, of the agricultural labourers. 
The fact that they could live for a whole week on the wage of 
four days, did not appear to the labourers a sufficient reason 
that they should work the other two days for the capitalist. 
One party of English economist'3, in the interest of capita], de- 
nounces this obstinacy in the most violent nlanner, another 
party defends the labourers. Let us listen, e.g., to the contest 
between Postlethwayt whose Dictionary of Trade then had the 
Bame reputation as the kindred works of M 'Culloch and 
M'Gregor to-day, and the author (already quoted) of the 
Ie Essay on Trade and Commerce." 
1 H A Discourse on the neceslity of encouragÏl'lg Mechanick InduøUy," London, 
1689, p. 13. Macaulay, who has fauified En
liah history in the interE>.t of the 'Vhigs 
and the bourgeoisie, declares ... follo'W'8: cc The practice of setting children prematurely 
to work . . . . preTailcd in the 17th oentW'1 to an extent which, when compared 
with the extent of the manufacturing system, seems .lmos
 incredible. At Norwich, 
the chief leat of the clothing trade, a little creature of IU yean old Was thought fit 
for la.bour. SeTeral writers of that time, and among them some who were considered 
as eminently benevolent, mention with exultation the fact that in that lIingle city, 
boys and girls of very tender age create we&lth exceeding what was necessary for 
their own lubsistence by twelTe thou8ßnd pounds a year. The more carefully we 
examine the history of the past, the more reason shall we find to diss&nt from those 
who imagine that our age hal been fruitful of new social evils. . . . . That which is 
new is the intelligence and the humanity which remedies them." (" History of Eng 
land," vol. I., p. 419.) Maca.ulay might haTe reported further that" extremely 
well-disposed Jt ami, du commerce in the 17th century, narrate with "exultation" 
how in a poorhouse in Holland a child of four W&.II employed, and that thi5 example 
of cc wrtu mise en pratique" passt's muster in all the humanitarian works, à la Macau- 
lay, to the time of Adam Smith. It is true that with the substitution of manufacture 
for handicrafts, traces of the exploitation of children begin to appear. This exploitation 
existed always to a certain extent among peasants, and was the more developed, the 
heavier the yoke pressing on the husbandma.n. The tendency of capital is there un- 
mistakably; but the facts themselves are still as isolated a.a the phenomena of two- 
headed children. Hence they were noted" with exultation" as especially worthy 
of remark and as wonders by the far-seeing "ami, du commerce, " an.! recommenùed as 
models for their own time and for posterity. This Scotch sycophant and fine 
'talker, Macaulay, says: "We hear to-day only of retrogression and see only progress. " 
"That eyes, and eEpecially what ears! 
2 Among the accusers of the workpeople, tn.e most angry is tht' anonymous author 
quoted in the text of" An Essa.y on trade and commerce, containing observa.tions on 


Caþzta/is! Pl'oductzon. 

Postleth wayt says among other things: " We cannot pu t an 
end to those few observations, without noticing that trite re- 
mark in the mouth of too many; that if the industrious pOOl'" 
can obtain enough to maintain themselves in five days, they 
will not work the whole six. Whence they infer the necessity 
of even the necessaries of life being made dear by taxes, or any 
other means, to compel the working artizan and manufacturer 
to labour the whole six days in the week, without ceasing. I 
must beg leave to differ in sentiment from those great 
politicians, who contend for the perpetual slavery of the work- 
ing people of this kingdom; they forget the vulgar adage, all 
work and no play. Have not the English boasted of the in- 
genuity and dexterity of her working artists and ma.nufacturers- 
which bave heretofore given credit and reputation to British 
wares in general? What has this been owing to? To nothing 
more probably than the relaxation of the working people in 
their own way. Were they obliged to toil the year round, the- 
whole six days in the week, in a repetition of the same work,. 
might it not blunt their ingenuity, and render them stupid in- 
stead of alert and dextQroUB; and might not our workmen lose 
their reputation instead of maintaining it by such eternal 
slavery 1 . . .. And what sort of workmanship could we ex- 
pett from such hard-driven animals? . . .. Many of therrl 
will execute as much work in four days asa Frenchman will in 
five or six. But if Englishmen are to be eternal drudges, 'tis 
to be feared they will degenerate below the Frenchmen. As 
our people are famed for bravery in war, do we not say that it 
is owing to good English roast beef and pudding in their bellies,. 
as well as their constitutional spirit of liberty? And why may 
not the superior ingenuity and dexterity of our artists and 

Taxa.tion, &c., London, 1170." He had already dealt with this subject in his earlier 
work: "Considerations on Taxes." London, 1765. On the same side follows. 
Polonius Arthur Young, the unuttemble statistica.l prattler. Among the defenders 
of the working classes the foremost are: Jacob Vanderlint, in: "IIoney answers all 
things." London, 1134; the Rev. Nathaniel Forster, D.D., in U An Enquiry into the 
Causes of the Present Price of Provisions," London, 1766; Dr Price, and especiall) 
Postlethwayt, as well in the supplement to his" Universal Dictionary of Trade and 
Commerce," as in his U Great Britain's Commercial Interest explained and im- 
proved." 2nd Edition, 1755. The facts themselves are confirmed by many other 
writers of the time, among others by Josiah Tucker. 

The rVorkillg Da I. 


tllanufactures. be owing to that freedolll and liberty to direct 
thenlselves in their own way, and I hope we shall never have 
them deprived of such privileges and that good living from 
w hence their ingenuity no less than their courage may pro- 
ceed." 1 Thereupon the author of the c, Essay on Trade and 
Commerce" replies: cc If the making of every seventh day an 
holiday is supposed to be of divine institution, as it implies 
the appropriating the other six days to labour" (he means 
capital as we shall soon see) {{ surely it wiU not be thought 
cruel to enforce it . . . . That mankind in gener8.1, are 
naturally inclined to ease and indolènce, ,ve fatally experience 
to be true, from the conduct of our nlanufacturing populace. 
who do not labour. upon an average, above four days in a. week. 
unless provisions happen to be very dear. . . . . Put all thu 
necessaries of the poor under one denomination j for instance, 
-call them all wheat, or suppose that. . . . the bushel of wheat 
shall cost five shillings and that he (ø. manufacturer) earns 
a shilling by his labour, he then would be obliged to work 
five days only in a week. If the bushel of wheat should cost 
but four shillings, he ,vould be obliged to work but four daYR j 
but as wages in this kingdom are llluch higher in proportion to 
the price of necessaries. . . . the manufacturer, wbo labours four 
days, has a surplus of money to live idle with the rest of the 
week . . . . I hope I have said enough to make it appear 
that the moderate labour of six days in a week is no slavery. 
Our labouring people do this, and to all appearance are the 
happiest of all our labouring poor,1 but the Dutch do this in 
manufactures, and appear to be a very happy people. The 
French do so, when holidays do not intervene.' But our popu- 
lace have adopted a notion, that as Englishmen they enjoy 
a birthright privilege of being more free and independent than 
in any country in Europe. N ow this idea, as far as it may 
.affect the bravery of our troops, may be of some use j but the 

1 PostIethwByt, 1. c., "First Preliminary Discourse," p. 14. 
I " An Essay," &c. He himBelf relates on p. 96 'Nherein tbe " happinf'11 " of the 
English agricultural labourer already in 1770 consisted. "Their powers are alway. 
upon the stretch, they cannot liTe che' -"ler than they do) nor ,york harder." 
3 Protestantism, by changing almost all the traùi
ional holidajs into workdaYi!I, 
pla:ys an important part in the genesis of capital. 

C apitallst Production. 
less the manufacturing poor have of it, certainly the better for 
themselvp.8 and for the State. The labouring people should 
never think themselves independent of their superiors. . . . . 
It is extremely dangerous to encourage mobs in a commercial 
state like ours, where, perhaps, seven parts out of eight of the 
whole, are people with little or no property. The cure will 
not be perfect, till our manufacturing poor are contented to 
labour six days for the same sum which they now earn in four 
days." To this end, and for C{ extirpating idleness, debauchery 
and exeess," promoting a spirit of industry, U lowering the price 
of labour in our manufactories, and easing the lands of the 
heavy burden of poor's rates," our U faithful Eckart U of capital 
proposes this approved device: to shut up such labourers as 
become dependent on public support, in a word, paupers, in 
" an ideal workhouu." Such ideal workhou
e must be made a 
"House ofTerror/' and not an asylum for the poor," where they 
are to be plentifully fed, warlnly and tiecently clothed, and where 
they do but little work."J In this ,{ House of Terror," this 
cc ideal workhouse, the poor shall work 14 hours in a day,. 
allowing proper time for mea]s, in such manner that t here shall 
remain 12 hours of neat-labour.'" 
T wel ve working hours daily in the Ideal Workhouse, in the 
" House of Terror JJ of 1770! 63 years later, in 1833, when the 
English Parliament reduced the working day for children of 
13 to 18, in four branches of industry to 12 full hours, the 
judgment day of English Industry had dawned 1 In 1852
when Louis Bonaparte sought to secure his position with tl)e 
bourgeoisie by tampering with the legal working day
French people cried out with one voice C{ the law that limits 
the working day to 12 hours is the one good that has remained 
to UB of the legislation of the Republic!"4 l\t Züricb the work 


1 " An &5301," &c., p.15, 41, 96,97,55,57, 69.-Jacob Vanderlint, ßB early as 1734, 
declared th80t the secre:t of the out-cry of the capitalists as to the lazines8 of the- 
working people wall limply that they claimed for the same wages 6 days' labour 
instead of 4. 
51 1. c. p. 242. 
3 1. c. "The French," he !ays, {C laugh at our enthusiaetic ideas of liberty." 1. c. p. 78. 
4 U They especially objected to work beyond the 12 hours per day, because the laW' 
which fixeù those hours, is the only good which remains to them of the legislation of 
the Republic." (URep. of Insp_ of Fact.," 31st October, 1856, p_ 80.) The French 
Twe]ve hours' Eill of September 5th, 1850, a bourgeois edition of the decree of the 

The "iVorkÙzg Day. 

26 3 

of chi1dren over 10, is limited to 12 hours; in .Aargau in 18(32, 
the \vork of children between 13 and 16, was reduced fronl 
12! to 12 hours; in Austria in 1860, for children between 14 
and 16, the same reduction was made. l "\Vhat a progress," since 
1770! Macaulay would shout ,vith exultation 1 
The Cf House of rrerror " for paupers of which the capitalistic 
soul of 1770 only dreamed, was realized a few years later in the 
shape of a gigantic' {( \V orkhouse" for the industrial worker 
himself. It is called the Factory. And the ideal this time 
fades before the reality. 

ACTS, 1833 TO 1864. 

.After capital had taken centuries in extending the working- 
day to its normal maximum limit, and then beyond this to the 
limit of the natural day of 12 hours, I there followed on the 
birth of machinism and modern industry in the last third of 

ProviBional Government of March 2nd, 1848, holds in all workshops without exceptions. 
Before this law the working day in France was without definite limit. It lasted in 
the factories 14, 15, or more hours. See" Des classes ounières en France, pendant 
l'année 1848. Pu M. Blanqui." 1\1. Blanqui the economil!it, not the Revolutionist, had 
been entrusted by the Government with an inquiry into the condition of the work- 
ing class. 
1 Belgium is the model bourgeois state in regard to the regulation of the working 
day. Lord Howard of Welden, English Plenipotentiary at Bru!sels, reports to the 
Foreign Office, May 12th, 1862: "?tI. Rogier, the mini!ter, informed me that 
children's labour is limited neither by a general law nor by any local regulations; 
that the GOTernment, during the lal!!t three years, intended in every flession to pro- 
pose a. bill on the Imbject, but always found an insuperable obstacle in the jealous 
opposition to any legislation in contradiction with the principle of perfect freedom of 
2 " It is certainly much to be regretted that any c1as
 of persons should toil 12 hours 
a day, which, including the time for their meals and for going to and returning from 
their work, amounts, in fact, to 14 of the 24 hours. . . . Without entering into the 
question of health, no one one will hesitate, I think, to admit that, in a moral point 
of view, 10 entire an absorption of the time of the working classes, without intermission, 
from the early age of 13, and in trades not subject to restriction, much younger, must 
be extremely prejudicial, and is an evil greatly to be deplored . . . . For the sake, 
therefore, of public morals, of bringing up an orderly population, and of giving the 
great body of the people a reasonable enjoyment of life, it is much to be desired that 
in all trades l!Iome portion of every working day should be reserved for rest and leisure." 
(Leonard Horner in Reports of Insp. of Fact., Dec., 1841.) 

26 4 

Caþltalist Production. 

the 18th century, a violent encroachment like that of an 
avalanch(:: ill its intensity and extent. All bounds of morals 
and nature, age and sex, day and night, were broken down. 
Even the ideas of day and night, of rustic simplicity in the old 
statutes, became so confused that an English judge, as late as 
1860, needed a quite Talmudic sagacity to explain ({judicially" 
what was day and what ,vas night. l Capital celebrated its 
As soon as the working class, stunned at first by the noise 
and turmoil of the new system of production, recovered, in 
some measure, its senses, its resistance began, and first in the 
native land of machinism, in England. For 30 years, howevel', 
the concessions conquered by the workpeople were purely 
nominal. Parliment passed 5 Labour Laws between 1802 and 
1833, but was shrewd enough not to vote a penny for their 
carrying out, for the requisite officials, &c. 1 
They remained a dead letter. "The fact is, that prior to the 
Act of 1833, young persons and children were worked all night, 
all day, or both ad libitum." S 
A normal working day for modern industry only dates from 
the Factory Act of 1833, which included cotton, wool, flax, and 
Rilk factories. Nothing is more characteristic of the spirit of 
capital than the history of the English Factory Acts from 1833 
to 1864. 
The Act of 183
 declares the ordinary factory working day to 
be from ha]f-past five in the morning to half-past eight in the 
evening, and within these limits, a period of 15 hours, it is law- 
ful to employ young persons (i.e., persons between 13 and 18 years 
1 See" Judgment of Mr. J. H. Otwey, Belfast. Hilary Sessions, County Antrim, 
1860. " 
2 It is very characteristic of the régime of Louis Philippe, the bourgeois king, that 
the one Factory Act passed during his reign, that of March 22nd, 1841, was never 
put in force. And this law only dealt with child-labour. It fixed 8 hours a da.y for 
children between 8 and 12, 12 hours for children between 12 and 16, &c., with many 
exceptions which allow night-work even for children 8 years old. The supervision 
and enforcement of this law are, in a country where every mouse is under police 
administration, left to the good-will of the amis du comrne1'ce. Only since 1853, 
in one single department-the Département du Nord-has a paid government inspector 
been appointed. Not less characteristic of the development of French society, 
genernlIy, is the fact, that Louis Philippe's law stood solitary among the all.embracing 
mass of French laws, till the Revolution of 1848. 
3 "Report of Insp. of :Fact.," SOth 
\.p1'Íl, lSGO, p. 50. 

The JVorkillg Day. 

26 5 

.of age), at any tin1e of the day, provided no one individual 
young person should work more than 12 hours in anyone day, 
except in certain cases especi
lly provided for. The 6th section 
of the Act provided: U That there shall be allowed in the course 
of every day not less than one and a half hours for meals to 
every such person restricted as hereinbefore provided." The 
employment of children under 9, ,vith exceptions mentioned 
later, was forbidden; the work of children between 9 and 13 
was lin1Ìted to 8 hours a day, night work, i.e., according to this 
Act, work bet\veen 8.:30 p.ln. and õ.30 a.ln., ,vas forbidden for 
all persons bet\veen 9 and 18. 
The la,v-makers were so far from ,vishing to trench on the 
freedom of capital to exploit adult labour-power, or, as they 
c,alled it, "the freedom of labour," that they created a special 
system in order to prevent the Factory Acts from having a 
con::,equence so outrageous. 
"The great evil of the factory system as at present con- 
ducted," says the fir
t report of the Central Board of the Com- 
mission of June 28th, 1833, "has appeared to us to be that it 
entails the neces:sity of continuing the labour of children to 
the ubnost length of that of the adults. The only remedy for 
this evil, short of the limitation of the labour of adults, which 
"ould, in our opinion, create an evil greater than that which is 
sought to be remedied, appears to be the plan of working 
double sets of children." . Under the name of 
of Relays, this "plan" was therefore carried out, so that, e.g., 
from 5.30 a.m. until 1.30 in the afternoon, one set of children 
between 9 and 13, and from 1.30 p.m. to 8.30 in the evening 
another set were" put to," &c. 
In order to reward the manufacturers for baving, in the 
most barefaced way, ignored all the Acts as to children's labour 
passed during the last twenty-two years, the pilJ ,"vas yet 
further gilded for them. Parliament decreed tbat after ]'larch 
1st, 1834, no child under 11, after l\Iarch 1st, 1835, no child 
under 12, and after 
Iarch 1st, 1836, no child under I:J, was to 
work more than eight hours in a factory. This" liberalism," 
so full of consideration for " capital," was the more noteworthy 
as, Dr. Farre, Sir A. Carlisle, Sir B. Brodie, Sir C. Bell, -Mr. 


Caþitalist Production. 

Guthrie, &c., in a. word, the most distinguished physicians and 
surgeons in London, had declared in their evidence before the 
House of Commons, that there was danger in delay. Dr. 
Farre expressed himself still more coarsely. cc Legislation is 
necessary for the prevention of death, in any form in which it 
ean be prematurely inflicted, and certainly this (i.e., the factory 
method) must be viewed as a most cruel mode of inflicting it." 
That same "reformed " Parliament, which in its delicate con- 
sideration for the manufacturers, condemned children under 13,. 
for years to come, to 72 hours of work per week in the Factory 
Hell, on the ot.her hand, in the Emancipation Act, which also 
administered freedom drop by drop, forbade the planters, from 
the outset, to work any negro slave more than 45 hours a 
But in no wise conciliated, capital now began a noisy agitation 
that went on for several years. It turned chiefly on the age of 
those who, under the name of children, were limited to 8 hours 
work, and were subject to a certain amount of compulsory 
education. According to capitalistic anthropology, the age of 
childhood ended at 10, or at the outside, at 11. The more 
nearly the time approached for the coming into full force of 
the Factory Act, the fatal year 1836, the more wildly raged 
the mob of manufacturers. They managed, in fact, to intimidate 
the government to such an extent that in 1835 it proposed to 
lower the limit of the age of childhood from 13 to 12. In the the pressure from without grew more threatening. 
Courage failed the House of Commons. It refused to thro,v 
children of 18 under the Juggernaut Car of capital for Inore 
.than 8 hours a day, and the Act of 1833 came into full operation. 
It remained unaltered until June, 1844. 
In the ten years during which it regulated factory work, 
first in part, and then entirely, the official reports of the factory 
inspectors teem with complaints as to the impossibility of 
putting the Act into force. As the law of 1833 left it optional 
with the lords of capital during the 15 hours, from 5.30 a.m. to 
8.30 p.m., to make every cc young person," and cc every child" 
begin, break off, resume, or end his 12 or 8 hours at any 
moment they liked, and also permitted them to assign to- 

The IVorkillg Day. 


different persons, different times for meals, these gentlemen 
soon discovered a new cc system of relays," by \vhich the labour- 
horses were not changed at fixed stations, but ,vere constantly 
re-harneRSed at changing stations. 'Ve do not pa.use longer on , 
the beauty of this system, as we shall have to return to it later. 
Eu t this much is clear at the first glance: that this system 
annulled the whole Factory Act, not only in the' spirit, but in 
the letter. How could factory inspectors, with this complex 
book-keeping in respect to each individual child or young 
person, enforce the legally determined work tilne and the 
granting of the legal meal-times 1 In a great many of the 
factories, the old brutalities soon blo
omed out again un- 
punished. In an interview with the Home Secretary (1844), 
the factory inspectors demonstrated the impossibiJity of any 
control under the newly invented relay system. 1 In the mean- 
time, however, circumstances had greatly changed. The factory 
hands, especially since 1838. had made the Ten Hour:;' Bill their 
economical, as they had made the Charter their political, 
election-cry. Some of the manufacturers, even, who had 
managed their factories in conformity with the Act of 1833, 
overwhelmed Parliament with memorials on the immoral com- 
petition of their false brethren whom greater impudence, or 
more fortunate local circumstances, enabled to break the la,v. 
Moreover, however much the individual manufacturer might 
give the rein to his old lust for gain, the spokesmen and 
political leaders of the manufacturing class ordered a change 
of front and of speech towards the work people. They had 
entered upon the contest for the repeal of the Corn Laws, and 
needed the ,vorkers to help them to victory. They promised, 
therefore, not only a double-sized loaf of bread, but the enact- 
ment of the Ten Hours' Bill in the Free Trade millenium. 1 ThuB 
they still less dared to oppose a measure intended only to make 
the law of 1833 a reality. Threatened in their holie
t interest, 
the rent of land, the Tories thundered with philanthropic in- 
dignation against the "nefarious practices " I of their foes. 
1 U Rept. of Illi!
p. of Fact.," 31st October, 1849, p. 6. 

 " Rept. of Insp. of Fact.," 31st October, 1848. p. 98. 
S Leonard Horner uses the expression "nefa.rious practices" in his official reports. 
(ee Report of Insp. of Fact.," 31st October, 1859, p. 7.) 


Caþ/talis! Production. 

This was the origin of the additional Factory Act of June 
7th, 1844. It came into effect on September 10th) 1844. It 
places under protection a new category of workers, viz., the 
women over 18. They were placed in every respect on the 
same footing as the young persons, their work time limited to 
twelve hours, their night-labour forbidden, &c. For the first 
time, legislation saw itself compelled to control directly and 
officially the labour of adults. In the Factory Report of 1844- 
1845, it is said with irony: cc No instances have come to my 
knowledge of adult won1en having expressed any regret at 
their rights being thus far interfered ,vith." 1 The working time 
of children under 13 was reduced to 6!, and in certain circulll- 
stances to 7 hours a-day.' 
To get rid of the abuses of the" spurious relay-system," the 
law established besides others the following important regula- 
tions :-" That the hours of work of children and young persons 

hall be reckoned from the time ,vhen any child or young 
person shall begin to work in the morning." So that if A, 

.g., begins ,vork at 8 in the morning, and B at 10, B's work- 
day must nevertheless end at the same hour as A's. {{ The 
time shall be regulated by a pu.blic c1ock," for example, the 
nearest railway clock, by which the factory clock is to be set. 
The occupier is to hang up a cc legible" printed notice stating 
the hours for the beginning and ending of work and the times 
allowed for the several meals. Children beginning work before 
12 noon may not be again employed after 1 p.m. The after- 
noon shift must therefore consist of other children than those 
employed in the morning. Of the hour and a half for meal 
times, (( one hour thereof at the least shall be given before 
three of the clock in the afternoon. and at the same 
period of the day. No child or young person shall be employed 
more than five hours before 1 p.m. without an interval for meal 
time of at least 30 minutes. No child or young person [or 
fen1ale] shall be employed or allowed to remain in any room in 
'v hich any manufacturing process is then [i.e., at meal times] 
carried on," &c. 
1 "Rept.," &e., 30th Sept., 1844, p. 15. 
2 The Act allows children to be emlJloyed for 10 hours if they do not work day after 
day, but only on alternate days. In the main, this clause remained inoperative. 

The lVorking Da). 

26 9 

It has been seen that these minutiæ, ,vhich, with military 
uniformity, regulate by stroke of the clock the times, limits, 
rauRes of the ,vork, ,vere not at all t.he products of Parlia- 
lllûntary fancy. They developed gradually out of circum- 
stances as natural la"
s of the modern mode of production. 
Their formulation, official recognition, and proclamation by the 
State, were the result of a long struggle of classes. One of 
their first consequences was that in practice the working day 
of the adult males in factories became subject to the same 
limitations, since in most processes of production the co-opera- 
tion of the children, young persons, and women is indispens- 
able. On the whole, therefore, during the period from 1844 
to 1847, the 12 hours' working day became general and 
uniforln in all branches of industry under the Factory Act. 
The manufacturers, however, did not allow this "progress" 
without a compensating "retro
ression:' At their instigation 
the House of ComlDons reduced the minimum age for exploit- 
able children from 9 to 8, in order to assure that additional 
supply of factory children which is due to cal)italists, accord- 
ing to divine and h uman law. 1 
The years 1846-47 are epoch-making in the economic history 
of England. The Repeal of the Corn Laws, and of the duties 
on cotton and other raw material; free trade proclaimed as the 
guiding star of legislation; in a word, the arrival of the mil- 
lenium. On the other hand, in the same years, the Chartist 
movement and the 10 hours' agitation reached their highest 
point. They found allies in the Tories panting for revenge. 
Despite the fanatical opposition of the army of perjured Free- 
traders, ,vith Bright and Cobden at their head, the Ten Hours'" 
Bill, struggled for so long, went through Parliament. 
The new Factory Act of June 8th, 18
7, enacted that on 
July 1st, 1847, there should be a preliminary shortening of the 
working day for cc young persons" (from 13 tQ 18), and all 
females to 11 hours, but that on 
Iay 1st, 1848, there should 
be a definite limitation of the working day to 10 hours. In 

1 II As a reduction in their hours of work would eause a larger number (of children) 
to be employed, it was thought that the additional supply of children from 8 to 9- 
years of age would meet the increased demand" (I.e., p. 13). 

27 0 

Caþitalist Production. 

other respects, the Act only amended and cOlupleted the Acts 
of 1833 and 1844. 
Capital now entered upon a preliminary campaign in order 
to hinder the Act from coming into full force on May 1st, 1848. 
And the workers themselves, under the pretence that they had 
been taught by experience, were to help in the destruction of 
their own work. The moment was cleverly chosen. " It must 
be remembered, too, that there has been more than t\VO years 
of great suffering (in consequence of the terrible crisis of 184G- 
47) among the factory operatives, from many mills having 
worked short time, and many being altogether closed. A con- 
sidera.ble number of the operatives must therefore be in very 
Darrow circurnstances; many, it is to be feared, in debt; so 
that it might fairly have been presumed that at the present 
time they would preter working the longer time, in order to 
make up for past losses, perhaps to payoff debts, or get their 
furniture out of pawn, or l
eplace that Bold, or to get a new 
supply of clothes for themselves and their families." 1 
The manufacturers tried to aggrll.vate the natural effect of 
these circuIIlstances by a general reduction of wages by 10%. 
This was done, so to say, to celebrate the inauguration of the 
new Free Trade era. Then followed a further reduction of 81% 
as soon as the working day was shortened to 11, and a reduc- 
tion of double that a
ount as soon as it was finally shortened 
to 10 hours. Whereyer, therefore, circumstances allowed it, a 
reduction of wages of at 25 0 / 0 took place. I Under such 
favourably prevared conditions the agitation among the factory 
workers for the repeal of the Act of 1847 was begun. Neither 
lies, bribery, nor threa.ts were spared in this attempt. But all 
was in vain. Concerning the half-dozen petitions in which 
workpeople were made to complain of "their oppression by 
the Act," the petitioners themselves declared under oral ex- 
amination, that their signatures had been extorted from them. 
C( They felt themselves oppressed, but not exactly by the 

1 U Rep. of Insp. of Fa.ct.," 3bt Oct" 1848, p. 16. 
I U I found that men who ha.d been getting 10s. a week, had had 1s. taken off for 
a reduction in the rate of 10 per cent, and Is. 6d. off the remaining 98. for the reduo- 
tion in time, together 2s. 6d., and notwithstanding this, many of them said they 
would rather work 10 hours." 1. c. 


Vorking Day. 

27 1 

.Factory Act. I '1 But if the manufacturers did not succeed in 
making the workpeople speak as they wished, they them- 
selves shrieked all the louder in press and Parliament in the 
llame of the \vorkpeople. They denounced the Factory 
Inspectors as a kind of revolutionary conll11issionel'
 like those 
of the French National Convention ruthlessly sacriticing the 
unhappy factory workers to their humanitarian crotchet. This 
manæuvre also failed. Factory Inspector Leonard Horner 
conducted in his own person, and through his su L-inspectors, 
many examinations of witnesses in the factorie'i of Lancashire. 
About 70 0 / 0 of the "\vorkpeople examined declared in favour 
of 10 hours, a much smaller percentage in favour of 11, and an 
altogether insignificant minority for the old 12 hours. 1 
Another "friendly J) dodge was to make the adult males 
work 12 to 15 hours, and then to blazon abroad this fact as 
the best proof of what the proletariat de81red in its heart of 
hearts. But the "ruthless" Factory Inspector Leonard Horner 
was again to the fore. The majority of the" over-timers" 
declared: "They would much prefer working ten hours for 
less .wages, but that they had no choice; that so many were 
out of employment (so many epinners getting very lo\v wages 
by having to work as piecers, being unable to do better;) that 
if they refused to work the longer time, others would immedi- 
ately get their places, so that it was a question with them of 
agreeing to work the long time, or of being thrown out of 
employment altogether." I 
The preliminary campaign of capital thus came to grief, and 
the Ten Hours' Act came into force May 1st, 1848. But mean- 
while the fiasco of the Chartist party whose leaders were 
1 "Though I signed it [the petition], I said at the time I was putting my band to a 
wrong thing.' 'Tben why did you put your band to it?' 'Because I should have 
been turned off ü I bad refused.' Whence it would appear tbat tbis petitioner felt 
himself ' oppressed,' but not exactly by tbe Factory Act." 1. c. p. 10'2. 
t p. 17, 1. c. In Mr. Horner's district 10,270 adult male labourers were thus 
examined in 101 factories. Tbeir evidence is to be fov.nd in the appendix to the 
:Factory Reports for the half-year ending October 1848. These examinations furnish 
valuable material in other connexions also. 
B 1. c. See the evidence collected by Leonard Horner himself, Nos. 69, 70, 71, 72, 
!)2, 93, and that collected by Sub-Inspector A., Nos. 51, 52, 58, 59, 62, 70, of the 
Appendix. One manufacturer, too, 'tsiUs the plain truth. See No. 14, and No. 
2G5, I. c. 

27 2 

Caþi/allst Production. 

hnprisoned, and whose organisation was dismembered, had 
shaken the confidence of the English working class in its own 
strength. Soon after this the June insurrections in Paris and 
its bloody suppression united, in England as on the Continent" 
all fractions of the ruling classes, landlords and capitalists, 
8tock-exchange wolves and shop-keepers, Protectionists and 
Free-traders, government and opposition, priests and free- 
thinkers, young whores and old nuns, under the common cry 
for the salvation of Property, Religion, the Family and 
Society. The working class was everywhere proclaimed, 
placed under a ban, under a virtual law of suspects. The 
n1a.nufacturers had no need any longer to restrain themselves. 
They broke out in open revolt not only against the Ten I-lours' 
Act, but against the whole of the legislation that since 1833 
had aimed at restricting in some measure the cc free " exploita- 
tion of labour-power. It was a pro-slavery rebellion in minia- 
ture, carried on for over two years with a cynical recklessness, 
a terrorist energy all the cheaper because the rebel capitalist 
risked nothing except the skin of his I( hands." 
To understand that which follows we must remember that 
the Factory Acts of 1833, 1844, and 1847 were all three in 
force so far as the one did not amend the other: that not one 
of these limited the working day of the male worker over 18, 
and that since 1833 the 15 hours from 5.30 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. 
had remained the legal "day," within the limits of which 
at first the 12, and later the 10 hours' labour of young 
persons and women had to be performed under the prescribed 
condi tions. 
The man1J.facturers began by here and there discharging a 
paft of, in many cases half of, the young persons and women 
employed by them, and then, for the adult males, restoring 
the almost obsolete night-work. The Ten Hours' Act, they 
cried, leaves no other alternative.! 
Their second step dealt with the legal pauses for meals. 
Let us hear the Factory Inspectors. II Since the restriction of 
the hours of work to ten, the factory occupiers maintain, 
although they have not yet practically gone the whole length, 
t Reports, &c., for 3bt October, 1848, p. 133, 134. 

The Worki1lg Day. 


that supposing the hours of work to be from 9 a.m. to 7 ]>.n1., 
they fulfil the provisions of the statutes by allováng au hour 
before 9 a.m. and half-an-hour after 7 p.m. [for meals]. In 
some cases they now allo\v an hour, or half an hour for dinner, 
insisting at the sallie time, that they are not buund to allow 
any part of the hour and a balf in the course of the factory 
'v-orking-day." 1 The manufacturers maintained therefore that 
the scrupulously strict provisions of the Acts of 1844 .with 
regard to meal times only gave the operatives permission to eat 
and drink before cOIning into, and after leaving the factory- 
i.e., at home. And why should Dot the workpeople eat their 
dinner before 9 in the morning? The crown lawyers, how- 

ver, decided th3,t the prescribed meal times U must be in the 
interval during the working hours, and that it will not be 
lawful to work for 10 hours continuously, froln 9 a.m. to 7 
p.m., without any interval." t 
After these pleasant demonstrations, Capital preluded its 
revolt by a step which agreed with the letter of the law of 
1844, and was therefore legal. 
The Act of 1844 certainly prohibited the employment after 
1 p.m. of such children, from 8 to 13, as had been employed 
before noon. But it did not regulate in any way the 6! 
hours' work of the childrtn whose work-time began at 12 mid- 
day or later. Children of 8 might, if they began work at noon, 
be employed from 12 to 1, 1 hour; from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, 
2 hours; from 5 to 8.30 in the evening, 3! hours; in all, the 
legal 61 hours. Or better stine In order to make their work 
coincide with that of the adult male labourers up to 8.30 p.m., 
the manufacturers only had to give them no work till 2 in the 
afternoon; they could then keep them in the factory without 
intermission till 8.30 in the evening. "And it is now expressly 
admitted that the practice exists in England from the desi 1'0 
of mill-ownèrs to have their machinery at work for more than 
10 hours a-day, to keep the children at work with male 
adults after all the young persons and women have left. 
and until 8.30 p.m., if the factory-owners choose."3 Workmen 

1 Reports, &c., for 30th April, 1848, p. 47. 
I U.eports, &c., for 31st October, 1848, p. 130. 
I Reports, &c.... .. c., p. 14-2- 


Caþitalist Productzo1Z. 

and factory inspectors protested on hygienic and moral grounds, 
but Capital answered: 
" l\Iy deeds Up OIl my head! I crave the lßw, 
The penalty and forfeit of my bond." 
In fact, according to statistics laid before the JlouRc of COln- 
mons on July 26th, 1850, in spite of aU protests, on July 15th, 
1850, 3,742 children ,vere subjected t.o this" practice JJ in 257 
factories.] Still, this was not enough. The lynx eye of 
Capital discovered that the Act of 1844 did not allow 5 hours' 
\vork before mid-day without a pause of at least 30 minutes for 
refreshment, but prescribed nothing of t.he kind for work after 
mid-day. Therefore, it claimed and obtained the enjoyment 
not only of making children of 8 drudge without intennission 
from 2 to 8.30 p.m., but also of making them hunger during 
that time. 

" .Ay, his heart, 
So says the bond."2 
This Shylock-clinging to t.he letter of the law of 1844, so far 
as it l'egulated children's labour, was but to lead up to an open 
revolt against the same law, so far as it regulated the labour of 
It young persons and women." It will be remenlLered that the 
abolition of the "false relay system" was the chief aim and 
object of that law. The masters began their revolt with the 
siu1ple declaration that the sections of the Act of 1844 which 
prohibited the ad libitum use of young persons and ,"omen in 
such ðhort fractions of the day of 15 hours as the employer 
chose, were "comparatively harmless" so long as the work- 
time ,vas fixed at 12 hours. But under the Ten Hours' Act 
they ,vere a "grievous hardship.'" They informed the in... 
1 Reports, &c., for 31st October, 18:')0, pp. 5, 6. 
t The nature of capital remains the same in its developed as in its undeveloped 
form. In the code which the influence of the slave-owners, shortly before the out- 
break of the American civil war, imposed on the territory of New Mexico, it is said 
that the labourer, in as much as the capitalist has bought his labour-power, "is his 
(the capitalist's) money." The same view was current among the Roman pa.trician
The money they had advanced to the plebeian debtor had been trall8formed 1JÍd the 
means of subsistence into the flesh a.nd blood of the debtor. This" flesh and ..J1ood ' 
were, therefore, "their money." Hence, the Shylock-law of the Ten '.;':"ablpfi. 
Linguet's hypothesis that the patrician creditors from time to time prepared, beyond 
the Tiber, banquets of debtors' flesh, may remain as undecided as that of Daumer on 
the Christian Eucharist. 
S Reports, &c., for 30th April, 1818, 'I) 28 

The Working Day. 


spectors in the coolest manner that they should place thenl- 
sel ves above the letter ')f the law, and re-introJ.uce the old 
system on their o\vn account. 1 They were acting in the interests 
of the in-advised operatives themselve
, " in order tu be aLle to 
pay them higher wages." " This \vas the only pos
ible pian by 
which to maintain, under the Ten Hours' Act, the industrial 
Ruprmnacy of Great Britain." U Perhaps it may be a little 
ditficult to detect irregularities under the relay system; but 
what of that 1 Is the great luanufacturing interest of this 
country to be treated as a secondary matter in order to save 
some little trouble to Inspectors and Sub-In
pectors of 
Factories 1 "2 
All these shifts naturally were of no avail. The Factory 
Inspectors appealed to the Law Courts. But ;;oon such a cloud 
of dust in the way of petitions from the Blasters overwhelrlled 
the Home Secretary, Sir George Grey, that in a circular of 
August 5th, 1848, he recommends the in
pectol's not "to lay 
informations against mill-owner:i for a breach of the letter 8f 
the Act, or for employment of young persons by relays in caties 
in which there is no reason to believe that such young persons 
ha ve been actually employed for a longer period than that 
sanctioned by law." Hereupon, Factory Inspector .J. Stuart 
allowed the so-called relay system during the 15 hour::; of the 
factory day throughout Scotland, where it soon tl.ourished again 
as of old. The English Factory Inspectors, on the other hand.. 
declared that the Home Secretary had no power dictatorially 
to suspend the law, and continued their legal proceedings against 
the pro-:sla very rebellion. 
But \v hat was the good of summoning the capitalists when t.he 
Courts, in this case the country magistrates-Cobbett's " Great 
Unpaid "-acquitted them 1 In these tribunals, the masters 
sat in judgment on themselves. An example. One Eskrigge, 
cotton-spinner, of the firm of Kersha\v, Leese, & Co., had laid 
before the Factory Inspector of his district the scheille of a 
relay system intended for his n1Íll. Receiving a refusal, he at 
t kept quiet. A few months later, an individual nalued 
Robinson, also a cotton-spinner, and if not his 
lan Friday, at 

I Thus, among others, PhIlanthropist Ashworth to Leonard HOI"ner, In a. disgusting 
Quaker letter. (Reports, &c., Avril, 1849, p. 4.) 
2 1. c., p. 140. 

27 6 

Caþitalist Production. 

alJ events relate.d to Eskrigge, appeared before the borough 
Inagistrates of Stockport on a charge of introducing the identi- 
cal plan of relays invented by Eskrigge. Four Justices Rat,. 
among them three cotton-spinners. at their head this san1ß 
inevitable Eskrigge. Eskrigge acquitted Robinson, and now 
was of opinion that what was right for Robinson \vas fair for 
Eskrigge. Supported by his own legal decision, he introduced 
the system at once into his own factory.l Of course, the corn- 
position of this tribunal was in itself a violation of the law. 2 
These judicial farces, exclaims Inspector Howell, "urgently 
call for a remedy-either that the law should be so altered as 
to be made io conforn1 to these decisions, or that it should 
be administered by a less fallible tribunal, \vhose decisions 
would conform to the law. . . . when these cases are brought 
forward. I long for a stipendiary magistrate."s 
The Crown lawyers declared the masters' interpretation of 
the Act of 1848 absurd. But the Saviours of Society would 
not allow themselves to be turned from their purpose. Leonard 
IIorner reports, " Ha ving endeavoured to enforce the Act . . r 
by ten prosecutions in seven magisterial divisions, and having 
been supported by the magistrates in one case only. . . . I con- 
sidered it useless to prosecute more for this evasion of the law. 
That part of the Act of 1884 which was framed for securing uni- 
formity in the hours of work, . . . is thus no longer in force in 
my district (Lancashire). Neither have the sub-inspectors or 
myself any means of satisfying ourselves, when we inspect a 
lnill working by shifts, that the young persons and WOlllen 
are not working more than 10 hours a-day. . . . In a return of 
the 30th April, . . . of mill-owners working by shifts, the 
number amounts to 114, and has been for some time rapidly 
increasing. In general, the time of working the mill is ex- 
tended to 13! hours, frorn 6 a.rn. to 7! p.m., . . . in some 
es it amounts to 15 hours, from 5
 a.m. to 8! p.m."
Already, in December, 1848, Leonard Horner had a list of G5 
manufacturers and 29 overlookers who unanimously declared 

1 Reports, &c., for 30th April, 1849, pp. 21, 22. Cf. like exa.mples ibiù. pp. 4, 5. 
2.By 1. and II. 'Vill. IV., ch. 24, s. 10, known as Sir John Hobhouse's Factory Ad, 
it was forbidden to any owner of a cotton-spinning or weaving mill, or the father, SOll, 
or brother of such owner, to act as Justice of the Peace in any inquiries that COIl' 
ccrned the Factory Act. 
31.0. 4 Reports, &c., for 30th April, 1849, p. 5. 

The TV01"ki1ig DaJ". 

""' 7 

that no system of supervision coulù, under this relay sy::;tern, 
prevent enormous overwork. l N ow, the same children and 
young persons were shifted from the spinning-room to the 
weaving-room, now, during 15 hours, from one factory to 
another.' How was it possible to control a system which, 
"under the guise of relays, is some one of the many plans for 
shuffling I the hands' about in endless variety, and shiftin
the hours of work and of rest for different individuals through- 
out the day, so that you 111ay never have one complete set of 
hands ,yorking together in the same room at the same time."3 
But altogether independently of actual overwork, this 80- 
called relay-system was an offspring of capitalistic fantasy 
such as Fourier,in his humorous sketches of cc Courtes Séances," 
has never surpassed, except that the U attractlonof labour " ,vas 
changed into the attraction of capital. Look, for example, at 
those schemes of the Ina'3ters \vhich the (( respectable " preBs 
praised as models of cc what a reasonable degree of care and 
method can accomplish." The per.
on'nel of the \vorkpeople 
was sometimes divided into frolD 12 to 14 categories, \vhich 
themselves constantly changed and rechanged their constituent 
parts. During the 15 hours of the factory day, capita] dragged 
in the labourer no\v for 30 minutes, now for an hour, and then 
pushed him out again, to drag hiln into the factory and to 
thrust him out afresh, hounding him hither and thither, in 
scattered shreds of time, without ever losing hold of him unlil 
the full 1 0 bours' work was done. As on the stage, the same 
persons had to appear in turns in the different scenes of the 
different acts. But as an actor during the whole course of 
the play belongs to the stage, so t.he operatives, during 15 
hours, belonged to the factory, ,vithout reckoning the time 
for going and coming. Thus the hours of rest \vere turned 
into hours of enforced idleness, ,vhich drove the youths to 
the pot-house, and the girls to the brothel. At every new 
trick that the capitalist, from day to day, hit upon for keep- 
ing his machinery going 12 or 15 hours without increasing 
the number of his hands, the worker had to swallow his meals 
now in this fragment of time, now in that. At the time of the 
1 Reports, &c., for 31st October, 1849, p. 6. 

 Reports, &c., for 30th April, 1849, p. 21. 
I Re.vorts. &c., for 1st Octo
 1848. D. 95. 

27 8 

Caþitalist Production. 

10 hours' agjtation, the masters cried out that the working mob 
petitioned in tbp hope of obtaining] 2 hours' wages for If) 
hours' work. Now they reversed the medal. They paid 1 () 
hours' wages for 12 OJ It. hour
' lordship over labour-power. 1 
This was the gist of the n1atter. this the masters' interpretation 
of the 10 hours' law! These were the same unctuous free- 
traders, perspiring ,vith the love of humanity, who for fullIí: 
years, during the Anti-OoTH Law agitation, had preached to- 
the operatives, by a reckoning of pounds, shillings, and pence, 
that with free importation of corn, and ,vith the means po
sessed by English industry, 10 hours' labour would be quite 
enough to enrich the capitalists.! This revolt of capital, after 
two years, was at last crowned with victory by a decision of 
one of the four highest Courts of Justice in England, the 
Court of Exchequer, which in a case brought before it on 
February 8th, 1850, decided that the manufacturers were 
certainly acting against the sense of the Act of 1844, but that 
this Act itself contained certain words that rendered it mean- 
ingless. cc By this decision, the Ten Hours' Act was abolished.'" 
A crowd of masters, who until then had been afraid of using 
the relay-system for young persons and "vornell, now took it up 
heart and sou1. 4 
But on this apparently decisive victory of capital, follo,vec1 
at once a revulsion. The workpeople had hitherto offered a 
passive, although inflexible and unremitting resistance. They 
now protested in Lancashire and Yorkshire in threatening 
meetings. The pretended Ten Hours' Act, was thus simple 
humbug, parliamentary cheating, had never existed! The 
Factory Inspectors urgently warned the Government that the 
antagonism of classes had arrived at an incredible tension. 
Some of the masters theillsclves murmured: "On account of 

1 See Reports, &c., for 30th ApriJ, 1849, p. 6, and the detailed explanation of the 
U shifting system," by Factory Inspectors Howell a.nd Saunders, in "Reports, &c., for 
31st October, 1848. ,. See also the petition to the Queen from the clergy of Ashton 
and vicinity, in the spring of 1849, against the" shift system." 

 Cf. for example, "The Factory Question and the Ten Hours' Bill." By R. II. 
Greg, 1837. 
3 F. Engels: '"The English Ten Hours' BiB." (In the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung, 
Politisch-ækonomische Revue." Edited by K. Marx. April number, 1850, p. 13. 
The same" high J: Court of Justice discovered, during the American Civil 'Var, a 
verbal ambiguity which exactly reversed the meaning of the law against the armmg 
of pirate ships. 
4 Rep., &c., for aOth April. 1850. 

The TVorkiJl


the contradictory decisions of the magistrates, a condition of 
things altogether abnormal and anarchieal obtains. One la\v 
holds in Yorkshire, another in Lancashire; one law in one parish 
of Lancashire, another in its immediate neighLourhood. The 
Jnanufacturer in large to\vns could evade the la\\r, the manu- 
facturer in country districts could not find the people necessary 
for the relay-sy
tern, still less for the shifting of hands frolH 
une factory to another," &c. And the first birthright of capital 
is equal exploitation of labour-po\ver by all ca.pitalists. 
Under these circumstances a compromise bet\veen masters 
and men was effected that received the seal of Parliament in 
the additional Factory Act of August 5th, 1850. 'fhe \vorking 
day for" young persons and wOlnen," was raised from 10 to 
10l hours for the first five days of the week, and \vas F;hortened 
to 7i on the Saturday. The \vork was to go on between 6 a.m. 
and 6 p.m./" \vith pauses of not less than 1! hours for meal- 
times, these meal-times to be allo\ved at one and the same tinle 
for all, and conformably to the conditions of 1844. By this an 
end \vas put to the relay-system once for all.
 For childrën'i 
labour, the Act of 1844 remained in force. 
One set of masters, this time as before, secured to itself 
special seigneurial rights over the children of the proletariat. 
These \vere the silk manufacturers. In 1833 they had howled 
out in threatening fashion, C( if the liberty of working children 
of any age for 10 hours a day were taken away, it would stop 
their \vorks." a It \vould be impossible for them to buy a suffi- 
cient number of children over 13. They extorted the privilege 
they desired. The pretext \vas sho\vn on subsequent investiga- 
tion to be a deliberate lie.' It did not, ho\vever, prevent them, 
during 10 years, from spinning silk 10 hours a day out of the 
blood of little children \vho had to be placed upon stools for 
the performance of their \vork.' The Act of 1844 certainly 
cc robbed" them of the tC liberty" of employing 
hildren under 
11 longer than 6i hours a day. But it secured to them, on the 
other hand, the privilege of working children between 11 and 
1 In winter, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. may be substituted. 
2 "The presentlaw (of 1850) was a compromise whereby the employed surrendered 
the benefit of the Ten Hours' Act for the advantage of one uniform period for the 
commencement and termination of the labour of those whose labour is restricted. II 
(Reports, &0., for 30th April, 1852, p. 14.) 
B Reports, &c.. for Sept., 1844, D. 13. . L 0. ' 1. c. 


Caþ'italist P'roducti01t 

13, 10 hours a day, and of annulling in their case tbe education 
1nade compulsory for all other factory children. This tÍIne the 
pretext was "the delicate texture of the fabric in which they 
were employed, requiring a lightness of touch, only to be 
acquired by their early introduction to these factories.''! The 
children were slaughtered out-and-out for the sake of tbeir 
delicate fingers, as in Southern Russia the horned cattle for the 
sake of their hide and tallow. At length, in 1850, the privilege 
granted in 1844 was lin1Ïted to the departments of silk-twisting 
and silk-winding. But here, to make amends to capital bereft 
of its c, freedom," the work time for children fron1 11 to 13 was 
raised from 10 to 101 hours. Pretext:" Labour in silk mills 
was lighter than in mills for other fabrics, and less likely in 
other respects also to be prejudicial to bealth."2 Official 
medical inquiries proved after,vards that, on the contrary, H the 
average death-rate is exceedingly hjgh in the silk districts, and 
amongst the female part of the population is higher even than 
it is in the cotton districts of Lancasbire." 8 Despite the pro- 

1 1. o. 

 Reports, &c., for 31st Oct., 1861, p. 26. 
B 1. c., p. 21. On the whole the working population, subject to the Factory Act, 
has greatly improved physically. All medical testimony agrees on this point, and 
personal observation at different times has convinced me of it. Nevertheless, and 
exclusive of the terrible death-rate of children in the first years of their life, the 
official reports of Dr. Greenhow show the un favourable health condition of the manu- 
fà'cturing districts as compared with "agricultural districts of normal health." As 
evidence, take the following table from hi8 1861 report :- 

Percentage Death-rate Death-rate Percentage 
of Adult from from of Adult 
Males en. Pulmonary N sme of District. Pulmonary Females en- Kind of Female 
gn.ged in Affections Affections gaged in Occupcl.tion. 
manufac- per 100,000 per 100,000 manufac- 
tures" Males. Females. tures. 
14'9 598 Wigan 644 18"0 Cotton 
42"6 708 Blackburn 734 34'9 Do. 
373 547 Halifax 564 20"4 'V orsted r 
41'9 611 Bradford 603 30'0 DQ. 
311> 691 Macclesfield 804 26'0 Silk 
14'9 588 Leek 705 17'2 Do. 
36'6 121 Stoke-upon-Trent 665 19'3 Earthenware 
30'4 726 W oolstanton 727 13'9 Do. 
Eight hea1tby agri- I 
305 cultural districts 3.10 I 

7he fliukiJlg Day. 
test.q of the Factory Inspector, renewed every 6 months, the 
Inischief continues to this hour. l 
'rhe Act of 1850 changed the 15 hours' time from 6 a.m. tc 
8.30 p.m., into the 12 hours from 6 a.ID. to 6 p.m. for" young 
persons and women" only. It did not, therefore, affect children 
who could always be employed for half an hour before and 21 
hours after this period, provided the whole of their labour did 
not exceed 6
 hours. Whilst the bill was under discussion, the 
Factory Inspectors laid before Parliament statistics of the in- 
famous abuses due to this anomaly. To no purpose. In the 
background lurked the intention of screwing up, during pros- 
perous years, the working day of adult males to 15 hours by 
the aid of the children. The experience of the three follo,ving 
years showed that suchan attempt must come to grief against the 
resistance of the adult male operatives. The Act of 1850 was 
therefore finally completed in 1853 by forbidding the" employ- 
ment of children in the morning before and in the evening after 
young persons and women." Henceforth with a fe\v exceptions 
the Factory Act of 1850 regulated the working day of all 
workers in the branches of industry that come under it.' Since 
the passing of the first Factory Act balf a century had elapsed.' 
Factory legislation for the first time went beyond itß original 
sphere in the" Printworkg' Act of 1845." The displeasure with 
which capital received this new "extravagance " speaks through 
every line of the Act. It limits the working day for children 
1 It II!! well-known with what relucta.nce the Engli.h "free tra.ders" up the 
protective duty on the silk manufacture. Inatead of the protection against French 
importation, the absence of protection to English factory children now aerves their 
2 During 1859 and 1860, the zenith yearlof the English cotton industry, lome manu- 
facturers tried, by the decoy bait of higher wages for o
er-time, to reconcile the adult 
male operativeR to an extension of the working day. The hand-mule spinners and 
self-actor minders put an end to the experiment by a petition to their employers in 
which they say, "Plainly speaking, our lives are to us a burthen; and, while we 
confined to the mills nearly two daY3 a 
tk more than the other operatives of the 
country, we feel like helots in the land, and that we are perpetuating .. lIystem 
injurious to ourselves and future generations. . . . . This, therefore, is to 
give yo
 most respectful notice that when we commence work again J.fter the 
Christmas and N ew Year'. holidays, we shall work 60 hours per week, And no more. 
-or from six to six, with one hour and ,. half 
ut. II (Reports, &c., for 30th April, 
1860, p. 30.) 
3 On the means that the wording of this Act afforded for its violation cf. the Parlia- 
mentary Return" Factory Regulatiolls Act U (6th Augrnt, 1859), and in it Leonard 
Horner's " Suggestions for arr..cnding the Factory Acts to enable the Inspectors to 
prevent illegal working, now become very prevalent." 


Caþitalist Productio1Z. 
from 8 to 13, and for women to 16 hours, between 6 a.m. and 
10 p.m., without any legal pause for meal times. It allo\v& 
males over 13 to be worked at will day and night. 1 It is a 
Parliamentary abortion.' 
However, the principle had triumphed with its victory in 
those great branches of industry which form the most character- 
istic creation of the modern mode of production. Their 
wonderful development from 185:3 to 1860, hand-in-band "\vith 
the physical and moral regeneration of the factory workers, 
struck the most purblind. The masters from whom the legal 
limitation and regulation had been wrung step by step after a 
civil war of half a century, thelnselves referred ostentatiously 
to the contrast with the branches of exploitation still "free."! 
The Pharisees of" political economy" now proclaimed the dis- 
cernment of the necessity of a legally fixed working day 3,.-, a 
characteristic ne"r discovery of their" science."4 It will be 
easily understood that after the factory magnates had resigned 
themselves and become reconciled to the inevitable, the power of 
resistance of capital gradually weakened, whilst at the same 
time the power of attack of the working class grew "\vith the 
number of its allies in the classes of society not immediately 
interested in the question. Hence the comparatively rapid 
advance since 1860. 
The dye-works and bleach-works all came under the Factory 
Act of 1850 in 1860;:' lace and stocking manufactures in 1861. 


1" Children of the age of 8 year! and upwards, have, indeed, been employed from 
6 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the last half year in my district." (Reports, &c., for 31st 
October, 1857, p.39.) 
I II The Printworks' Act is admitted to be a failure, both with reference to its educa- 
tional and protective provisions." (Reports, &c., for 31st October, 1862, p. 52.) 
. Thus, e.g., E. Potter in a letter to the "Times" of ?tlarch 24th, 1863. The 
"Times" reminded him of the manufacturers' revolt aóainst the Ten Hours' Bill. 
4 Thus, among others, Mr. W. N ewmarch, collaborator and editor of Tooke's" History 
of Prices." Is it a scientific advance to make cowardly conccs<;ions to public opinion? 
I The Act passed in 1860, determinell that, in regard to dye and bleach-works, the 
working day should be fixed on August 1st, 18Gl, provisionally at 12 hours, and defin- 
itelyon August 1st, 1862, at 10 hours, i.e.. at 10
 hours for ordinary days, and 7ì for 
Saturday. Now, when the fatal year, 1862, came, the old farce was repeated. Be- 
sides, the manufacturers petitioned Parliament to allow the 8mployment of young 
persons and women for 12 hours during one year longer. " In the existing condition 
of the (the time of tho cotton famine), it waR greatly to the advantage of the 
operativeø to work 12 hours per day, and make wages when they could." A bill to 
this effect had been brought in, " and it wa
 mainly .lut} to the action of the operative- 
bleachers in Scotland that the bill was abau,loned." (Reports. &c., for 31st Octoher r 

The TI 7 01' king Da)'. 

28 3 

In consequence of the first report of the Comnlission on t.he 
employment of children (1863), the same fate was shared 11Y 
the manufacturers of all earthenwares (not merely pottery), 
lucifer-matche8, perclu.;sion-caps, cartridges J carpets, fustian- 
cutting, and many processes included under the name of 
U finishing." In the year 1863 bleaching in the open air 1 and 
18ß2, D. 14-15.) Thus defeated bv the vel'Y work-peoplf", in whose name it pretended 
to speak, Capital discovered, with the help of IMy}"er spcctacles, that the Act of 1
drawn UP. like all the Acts of Par1iament for the" protection of lahour," in equivocal 
phrases, gave them a pretext to e'"<:clude from its working the calenùerers and fin- 
ishers. English iurisprudence, ever the faithful 
ervant of capital, sanctioneù in the 
Court of Common Pleas this piece of pettifogging. "The operatives have been 
greatly disa1.)pointed . . . they have complained of overwork, and it is greatly to be 
regretted that the clear intention of the legislature should have failcd bV reason of a 
faulty definition." (1. c., p. 18.) 
1 The" open-air bleachers" had evaded the law of 1860, by means of the lie that no 
women worked at It in the night. The lie was exposed by the Factory Inspectors, 
and at the same time Parliament was, by petitions from the operatives, bereft of 
its notions as to the cool meadow-fragrance, in which bleaching in the oven-air wacJ 
reported to take place. In this aerial bleaching, drying rooms were used at tempera- 
tures of from 00 0 to 100 0 Fahrenheit, in which the work was done for the most part by 
girls. "Cooling" is the technical expression for their occasioilal escape from the dry- 
ing-rooms into the fresh air. "Fifteen girls in stoves. Heat from 80 0 to 90 Q for 
linens, and 100 0 and upwards for cambrics. Twelve girls ironing and doing-up 
in a small room about 10 feet square, in the centre of which is a close stove. The 
girls stand round tho stove, which throws out a terrific heat, and dries the cambrics 
rapidly for the ironers. The bours of work for these hands are unlimited. If busy, 
they work till 9 or 12 at night for successive nights." (Reports, &c., for 31st October, 
1862, p. 56.) A medical man states: "No special hours are allowed for cooling, but 
if the temperature gets too high, or the workers' hands get soiled from perspiration, 
they are allowed to go out for a few minutes. . 1\Iy experience, which is 
considerable, in treating the diseases of stove workers, compels me to express the 
opinion that their sanitary condition is by no means so high as that of the operatives 
in a spinning factory (and Capital, in its memorials to Parliament, had painted them 
as floridly healthy, after the manner of Rubens). The diseases most observable 
amongst them are phthisis, bronchitis, irregularity of uterine functions, hysteria in 
its most aggravated forms, and rheumatism. All of these, I believe, are either 
directly or indirectly induced by the impure, overheated air of the apartments in 
which the hands are employed, and the want of sufficient comfortable clothing to 
protect them from the cold, damp atmosphere, in ,,,,-inter, when going to their 
homes." (1.0. p. 56-57.) The Factory Imlpectors remar1 ed on the supplementary law 
of 1860, torn from these open -air bleachers: "The Act h l
 not only failed to afford 
that protection to the workers which it appears to offer, but contains a cla.use . . . . ap- 
parently so worded that, unless persons are detected working after 8 o'clock at night 
they appear to come under no protective provisions at aU, and if they do so work, the 
mode of proof is so doubtf1.ù that a conviction can scarcely follow." (1. c., p. 52.) 
Ie To all intents and purposes, therefore, as an Act for any benevolent or educational 
purpose, it is a failure; since it can scarcely be called benevolent to permit, which is 
tantamount to compelling, women and chilùren to work 14 hours a day with or without 
meals, as the case may be, and perhaps for longer hours than these, without limit as 
to age, without reference to sex, and without regard to the social habits of the 
families of the neighbourhooa, in which such works (bleaching anù dyeing) are situ- 
ated." (Reports. &c.. for 30th April, 1863, p. -10.) 

28 4 

Caþz"talist Production. 

baking were placed under special Acts, by VI hich, in the 
fonner, the labour of young persons and women during the 
. night-time (from 8 in the evening to 6 in the morning), and in 
the latter, the employment of journeymen bakers under 18, 
between 9 in the evening and 5 in the morning were forbidden. 
We shall return to the later proposals of the same Commission, 
,vhich threatened to deprive of their" freedom" all the impor- 
tant branches of English Industry, with the exception of agri- 
culture, mines, and the means of trans11ort.l 


The reader will bear in mind that the production of surplus- 
value, or the extraction of surplus-labour, is the specific end 
and aim, the sum and substance, of capitalist production, 
quite apart from any changes in the mode of production, which 
may arise from the subordination of labour to capital. He will 
remember that as far as we have at present gone, only the inde- 
pendent labourer, and therefore only the labourer legally quali- 
fied to act for himself, enters as a vendor of a commodity into a 
contract with the capitalist. If, therefore, in our historical 
sketch, on the one hand, modern industry; on the other, the 
labour of those who are physically and legally minors, play 
important parts, the former was to us only a special depart- 
luent, and the latter on]y a specially striking example of labour 
exploitation. vVithout, however, anticipating the subsequent 
development of our inquiry, from the mere connexion of the 
nistoric facts before us, it follows: 
First. The passion of capital for an unlimited and reckless 
extension of the working day, is first gratified in the industries 
earliest revolutionised by water-power, steam, and machinery, 
in those first creations of the modern mode of production, 
cot.ton, wool, flax, and silk spinning, and weaving. The changes 
in the material mode of production, and the corresponding 
changes in the social relations of the producers 2 gave rise first 
1 Note to the 2nd Ed. Since 186G, when I wrote the above passages, are-action 
has again set in. 
2 "The conduct of each of these classes (capitalists and workmen) has been the 
result of the relative situation in which they have been placed." (Reports, &c., fur 
31st October, 1848, p. 113.)_ _ _ __ 

TIle TVorkillg Da)'. 

28 5 

to an extravagance beyond all .bounds, and then in opposition 
to thiR, called forth a control on the part of Society ,vhich 
legally lilnitR, regulates, and makes uniform the working day 
anù it
 pauses. This control appears, therefore, during the 
first half of the nineteenth century simply as excoptional 
legislation. 1 As soon as this primitive dominion of the ne\v 
mode of production was conquered, it was found that, in the 
meantime, not only had Iuanyother branches of production 
been Inade to adopt the saIne factory system, but that manu- 
factul"8s with mor
 or less obsolete methods, such as 
c't that old-fashioned handicrafts, like baking, 
and , r.uallYI even that the so-called domestic industries, such 
 nail-Inaking, J had long since fallen as completely under 
capitalist exploitation as the factories themselves. Legisla- 
tion was, therefore, compelled to gradually get rid of its ex- 
ceptional character, or where, as in England, it proceeds after 
the manner of the Roman Ca..c;;uists, to declare any house in 
which work was done to be a factory.' 
Second. The hi::;tory of the regulation of the working day in 
certain branches of production, and the struggle still going on 
in others in regard to this regulation, prove conclusively that 
the isolated labourer, the ]abourer as "free " vendor of his 
labour-power, when capitalist production has once attained a 
certain stage, succumbs ,vithout any power of resistance. '.rhe 
creation of a normal working day is, therefore, the product of 
a protracted civil ,var, more or less dissembled, between the 
capitalist class and the working class. As the contest takes 
place in the arena of modern industry, it first breaks out in 
the home of that industry-England.' The English factory 
1 "The employments, placed under restriction, were connected with the manufac- 
ture of textile fabrics by the aid of steam or water-power. There \Vcre two conditions 
to which an employment must be subject to cause it to be inspectecl, viz., the use of 
steam or water-power, and the manufacture of certain specified fibres." (Reports, 
&c., for 31st October, 1864, p. 8.) 
2 On the condition of so-called domestic industries, specially valuable materials 
are to be found in the latest reports of the Children's Employment
3 "The Acts oflast Session (1864) . . . . embrace a diversity of occupations. 
the customs in which differ greatly, and the use of mechanical power to give motion 
to machinery is no longer one of the elements necessary, as formerly, to constitute, 
in legal phrase, a 'Factory.'" (Reports, &c., for 31st October, 186-1, p. 8.) 
.4 Belgium, the paradise of Continental Liberalism, shows no trace of this move- 
ment. Even in the coal and metal mines, labourers of both sexes, and all ages, are 
consumed in perfect "freedom," at any period, and through any length of time. 
Of every 1000 persons employed ther&, 733 men, 88 women, 135 boys, and 44 


Caþitalist Productz01t. 

workers were the challlpions, not only of the English, but of 
the lfiodern working-class generally, as their theorists "rere 
the first to throw down the gauntlet to the theory of capital.! 
Hence, tbe philosopher of the Factory, Ure, denounces as an 
ineffable disgrace to the English working-class that they in- 
scribed "the slavery of the Factory Acts" on the banner which 
they hore against capital, manfully striving for "perfect free- 
dom of labour."1 
France limps slowly behind England. The February revolu- 
tion was necessary to bring into the world the 12 bours' la V{,' 
which is llluch more deficient tban its English original. For 
all that, the Frencb revolutionary method has its special 
advantages. It once for all commands the same limit to the 
,vorking-day in all shops and factories "\vithout di.stinction, 
whilst English legislation reluctantly yields to the pressure of 
circumstances, now on this point, now on that, and is getting 
lost in a hopelessly bewildering tangle of contradictory enact- 
ments. 4 On the other hand, the French law proclaims as a. 
under 16; in the bla8t-furnaces, &c., of every 1000, 688 are men, 149 women, 98 boys, 
and 85 girls under 16. Add to this the low wages for the enormous exploitation of 
mature and immature labour-power. The average daily pay for & man is 2s. 8d., for 
a woman, Is. 8d., for a boy, lB. 2
d. As a result, Belgium had in 1863, as compared 
with 1850, nea.rly doubled both the amount and the value of its exports of coal, 
iron, &c. 
1 Robert Owen, soon after 1810, not only maintained the necessity of a limitation 
of the working day in theory, but actually introduced the 10 hours' day into his 
factory at New Lanark. This was laughed at as a communistic Utopia; 80 were his 
"Combination of children's education with productive labour," and the Co-operative 
Societies of working-men, first called into being by him. To-day, the first Utopia is 
a Factory Act, the second figures as an official phrase in all Factory Acts, the third 
is already being used ab a cloak for reactionary humbug. 
2 Ure: "French translation, Philo sophie des Manufactures." Paris, 1836, Vol. II., 
p. 39, 40, 67, 77, &c. 
8 In the Compte Rendu of the International Statistical Congress at Paris, 1855, it 
is stated: U The French law, which limits the length of daily labour in factories and 
workshops to 12 hours, does not confine this work to defiI!ite fixed hours. For 
children's labour only the work-time is prescribed as between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. 
Therefore, Borne of the masters use the right which this fatal silence gives them to 
keep their works going, without intermission, day in, day out, possibly with the 
exception of Sunday. For this purpose they use two different sets of workers, of 
whom neither is in the workshop more than 12 hours at a time, but the work of the 
establishment lasts day and night. 1.'he law is satibfied, but is humanity 1" Besides 
"the destructive influence of night labour on the human organism," stress is also 
laid upon" the fatal influence of the association of the two sexes hy night in the 
same badly-lighted workshops." 
4. " For instance, there is within my district one occupier who, within the same curti- 
lage, is at the same time a bleacher and dyer under the Bleaching and Dyeing "\V Ol'ks 
Act, a printer under the Print"\Y orks Act, and a finisher under the Factory Act." 

The 11 orkÙzg Day, 


principle that which in England was only ,von in the nalne 
of chilJren, minors, and 'v orn en, and has been only recently 
for the first time claimed as a general right. l 
In the United States of North America, every independent 
nlovcment of the workers was paralysed so long as slavery dis- 
figured a part of the H,epublic. Labour cannot eluancipate 
itself in the ,vhite skin "\vhere in the black it is branded. 
But out of the death of slavery a ne,v life at once arose. The 
n.r8t fruit of the Civil \Var was the eight hours' agitation, that 
ran \vith the seven-leaO'ued boots of the lOCOllloti Ve frOlH the 
..:\.tJantic to the Pacific, from N e,v England to California. The 
General Congress of Labour at Baltimore (August 10th, 186ö) 
declared: "The first and great necessity of the present, to free 
the labour of this country from capitalistic slavery, is the pass- 
ing of a law by which eight hours shall be the norIJlal \vork. 
lng-day in all States of the American Union. \Ve are resolv6d 
to put forth all our strength until this glorious result is 
attained." t At the same time, the Congress of the International 
\V orking 
len's Association at Geneva, on the propusi tion of 
the London General Council, resolved that cc the lin1itation of 
the working-day is a preliminary condition without \vhich 
all further attempts at improvenlent and en1ancipatiun must 
prove abortive. . the Congress propose
 eight hours as 
the legal limit of the working-day." 
'rhus the movement of the ,vorking-class on both' sides of 
the Atlantic, that had grown instinctively out of the conditions 
(Report of :Mr. Baker, in Reports, &c., for October 31st, 1861, p. 20.) After enume- 
rating the ilifferent provisions of these Acts, anù the complications arising from them, 
!\II'. Baker says: "It will hence ap....ear that it must be very difficult to secure the 
execution of these three Acts of Parliament where the occupier chooses to evade the 
law." But what is assured to the lawyers by this is lawsuits. 
1 Thus the Factory Inspectors at last venture to say: "These objections (of 
capital to the legal limitation of the working-day) must succumb before the broad 
pIÍnciple of the rights of labour. . . . There is a time when the master's right in 
his workman's labour ceases, and his time becomes his own, even if there were no 
exhaustion in the question. ,. (Reports, &c., for 31st Oct., 18()2, p. 54.) 
2 " We, the workers of Dunkirk, declare that the length of time of labour required 
under the present system is too great, and that, far from leaving the worker time for 
rest and education, it plunges him into a condition of servitude but little hetter than 
slavery. That is why we decide that 8 hours are enough for a. WOI king-IIay, and 
ought to be legally recognised as enough; why we call to our help that powerful 
lever, the press;. . . and why we shall consider all those that refulSe 8 tLis help 
as enemies of the reform of labour and of the rights of the labourer." (Hesolution of 
the 'V o\'king l\len of Dunkirk, New York State, 18û6.) 

Caþitalist Production. 
of production themselves, endorsed the ,vords of the English 
Factory Inspector, R. J. Saunders: "Further steps towards a 
reformation of society can never be carried out with any hope 
of success, unless the hours of labour be limited, and the pre- 
scribed limit strictly enforced.." 1 
It must be acknowledged that our labourer comes out of the 
process of production other than he entered. In the market 
he stood as owner of the commodity" labour-power 11 face 
to face with other owners of commodities, dealer against 
dealer. The contract by which he sold to the capitalist his 
labour-power proved, so to say, in black and white that he dis- 
posed of himself freely. The bargain concluded, it is dis- 
covered that he was no "free agent," that the time for which 
he is free to sell bis labour-power is the time for which he is 
forced to sell it,! that in fact the vampire will not lose its hold 
on him ({ so long as there is a muscle, a nerve, a drop of blood 
to be exploited.'" For" protection" against" the serpent of 
their agonies," the labourers must put their heads together, 
and, as a class, compel the passing of a law, an all-powerful 
social barrier that shall prevent the very workers from selling, 
by voluntary contract with capital, themselves and their 
families into slavery and death." In place of the pompous 
catalogue of the" inalienable rights of Ilian JJ comes the modest 
Magna Charta of a legally limited working-day, which shall 
make clear" when the time which the worker sells is ended
and when his own begins." 6 Quantium mutatus ab illo! 
1 Reports, &c., for Oct., 1848, p. 112. 
1" The proceeùings (the manæuvres of ca.pital, e.g., from 1848-50) have affordeJ, 
moreover, incontrovertible proof of the fallacy of the assertion so often advanced, that 
operatives need no protection, but may he considered as free agents in the disposal of 
the only property which they possess-the labour of their ba.nds and the sweat of their 
brows." (Reports, &c., for April 30th, 1850, p. 45.) "Free labour (if so it may be 
termed) even in a free country, requires the strong arm of the law to protect it." 
(Repørts, &c., for October 31st, 1864, p. 34.) ,& To permit, which is tantamount to 
Jompelling . . to work 14 hours a day with or without meals," &c. (Repts., &c., 
for April 30th, 1863, p. 40.) 8 Friedrich Engels, 1. c., p. 5. 
4 The 10 Hours' Act has, in the branches of industry that come under it, "put an 
end to the premature decrepitude of the former long-hour workers." (Report8., &c., 
for 31st Oct., 18.
9, p. 47.) "Capital (in factories) can never be employed it). kee
ing the machinery in motion beyond a limited time, without certain injury to the 
hea.lth and morals of the labourers employed j a.nd they are not in a position to 
protect themselves." (1. c., p. 8.) 

 U A still greater boon is the distinction at last made clear between the worker'ø 
own time and his master's. The wOl"ker knows now when that which he sells is 


.I-(ùte and 1l1<1sS .if Sltrþlus- Value. 28 9 



IN this chapter, as hitherto, the value of labour-power, and 
therefore the part of the working-day necessa.ry for the repro- 
duction or maintenance of that labour-power, are supposed to 
be given, constant magnitudes. 
This premised, with the rate, the mass is at the same time 
given of the surplus-value that the individual labourer furnishes 
to the capitalist in a definite period of time. If, e.g., the 
necessary labour amounts to 6 hours daily, expressed in a 
quantum of gold = 3 shillings, then 3:->. is the daily value of 
one labour-power or the value of the capital advanced in the 
buying of one labour-power. If, further, the rate of surplus.. 
value be = 100 %, this variable capital of 3s. produces a maS3 
of surplus-value of 38., or the labourer supplies daily a mass of 
surplus-labour equal to 6 hours. 
But the variable capital of a capitalist is tbe expression in 
money of the total value of all the labour-powers tbat he 
employs simultaneously. Its value is, therefore, equal to the 
average value of one labour-power, multiplied by the number 
of labour-powers employed. With 8. given value of labour- 
power, therefore, the magnitude of the variable capital varies 
directly as the number of labourers employed simultaneously
If the daily value of one labour-power = 3s., then a capital of 
3008. must be advanced in order to exploit daily 100 labour- 
powers, of n times 3s., in order t,o exploit daily n labour- 

ended, and when his own begins; and by possessing a lure foreknowledge of this, is 
enabled to pre-arrange his own minutes for his own purposet!l." (1. c., p. 52.) "By 
making them masters of their own time (the Factory Acts) have given them a moral 
energy which is directing them to the eventual posseS8ion of politicaJ power" (1. c., 
p. 47). With suppressed irony, and in very well weighed words, the Factory In- 
I!pectors hint that the actual law also frees the capitalist from some of the brutality 
natural to a man who is a mere embodiment of capital, and that it has given him 
time for a little" culture." "Formerly the ma8ter had no time for anything but 
money; the servant had no time for anything but labour" (1. c., p. 48). 

29 0 

Caþ-italist Producliolt. 

In the same way, if a variable capital of 3s., being the daily 
value of one labour-power, produce a daily surplus-value of 3s., 
a variable of 300s. will produce a daily surplus-value of 
300s., and one of n tinles 3s. a daily surplus-value of n x 3s. 
The mass of the surplus-value produced is therefore equal to 
the surplus-value which the working-day of one labourer 
supplies ll1ultiplied by the number of labourers employed. 
But as further the mass of surplus-value which a single bboul'er 
produces, the value of labour-power being given, is determined 
hy the rate of the surplus-value, this law follows: the mass of 
the surplus-value produced is equal to the amount of tbe 
variable capital advanced, multiplied by the rate of surplus- 
value; in other words: it is determined by the compound ratio 
bet,veen the number of labour-powers exploited simult.aneously 
by the same capitalist and the degree of exploitation of each 
individual Jabour-power. 
Let the mass of the surplus-value be S, the surplus-value 
supplied by the individual labourer in the average day s, the 
variable capital daily advanced in the purchase of one individual 
labour-power v, the sum total of the variable capital V, the 
value of an average labour-power P, its degree of exploitation 
a' ( l!IurplWl.l&bo 
 ) and the number of labourers em p lo y ed n' wø. 
a UDCeIIM.7-lM.bour , 


 x V 
' x n 

It is always supposed, not only that the value of an average 
labour-power is constant, but that the labourers employed by 
a capitalist are reduced to average labourers. There are ex- 
ceptional cases in which the surplus-value produced does not 
e iu proportion to the number of labourers exploited, 
but then the value of the labour-power does not renlain con- 
In the production of a definite mass of surplus-value, there- 
fore, the decrease of one factor may be compensated by the in- 
crease of the other. If the variable capital diminishes, and at 
the same time the rate of surplu
-value in the same 

Rate and Afass of Surþl1fs- Value. 291 

ratio, the mass of surplus-value produced rClllains unaltered. 
If on our earlier assumption the capitalist Inust advance 300s., 
in order to exploit 100 labourers a day, and if the rate of 
surplus-value amounts to 50 %, this variable capital of 300s. 
yields a surplus-value of 150s. or of 100 x 3 ,vorking hours. If 
the rate of surplus-value doubles, or the working-day, instead 
ûf being extended from ß to 9, is extenùeù froln ß to 12 hour:, 
and at the same tilne variable capital is lessened by half, and 
reduced to 150s., it yields also a surplus-value of 150:-). or 50 X 
6 \vorking hours. Dilninution of the variable capital Inay there- 
fore be compensated by a proportionate rise in the degree of 
exploitation of labour-power, or the decrease in the num bel' of 
the labourers en1ployed by a proportionate extension of the 
,vorking-day. 'Vithin certain linlits therefore the supply of 
labour exploitable by capital is indepenJent of the supply of 
labourers. l On the contrary, a fall in the rate of surplus-value 
leaves unaltered the mass of the surplus-value produced, if tbe 
amount of the variable capital, or number of the labourers em- 
ployed, increases in the same proportion. 

 evertheless, the compensation of a decrease in the ntunùer 
of ]abourers employed, or of the alnount of variable capital 
advanced, by a rise in tbe rate of surplus-value, or by the 
lengthening of the ,vorking-day, has in1passable limits. "\Vhat- 
ever the value of labour-power Inay be, ,vhether the working 
time necessary for the Inaintenance of the labourer is 2 or 10 
hours, the total value that a labourer can produce, day in, day 
out, is always less than the value in ,vhich 24 hours of labour 
are embodied, less than 12s., if 12s. is the money expression for 
24 hours of realized labour. In our forIneI' assulnption. accord- 
ing to which 6 working hours are daily necessary in order to 
reproduce the labour-po,ver it<:;elf or to replace the value of the 
capital advanced in its purchase, a variable capital of 1500s., that 
employs 500 labourers at a rate of surplus-value of 100 % \vith 
a 12 hours' working-day, produces daily a surl'lus-value of 1500s. 
or of 6 x 500 \vorking bourse A capital of 300s. that employs 
1 This elementary law appears to be unknown to the vulgar economists, who, upside- 
down Archimedes, in the determination of the market-price of labour by supply and 
-demand, imagine they have found the fulcrum by means of whiqh, not to move the 
world, but to stop its motion. 

29 2 

Caþitalist Production. 

100 labourers a day with a rate of surplus-value of 200 % or 
with a working-day of 18 hours, produces only a mass of 
surplus-value of 600s. or 12 x 100 working hours; and its total 
value-product, the equivalent of the variable capital advanced 
plus the surplus-value, can, day in, day out, never reach the sum 
of 1200s. or 24 x 100 working hours. The absolute limit of 
the average working-day-this being by Nature always less than 
24 hours-sets an absolute limit to the compensation of a re- 
duction of variable capital by a higher rate of surplus-value, or 
of the decrease of the number of labourers exploited by a higher 
degree of exploitation of labour-power. This palpable law is 
of importance for the clearing up of many phenomena, arising 
from a tendency (to be worked out later on) of capital to re- 
duce as much as possible the number of labourers employed by 
it, or its variable constituent transformed into labour-po\ver, in 
contradiction to its other tendency to produce the greatest 
possible mass of surplus-value. On the other hand, if the mass 
of labour-power employed, or the alnount of variable, 
increases, but not in proportion to the fall in the rate of surplus- 
value, the mass of the surplus-value produced, falls. 
A third law results from the determination, of the mass of 
the surplus-value produced, by the two factors: rate of Burplus- 
value and amount of variable capital advanced. The rate of 
surplus-value, or the degree of exploitation of labour-power,. 
and the value of labour-power, or the amount of necessary 
working time being given, it is self-evident that the greater the- 
variable capital, the greater would be the mass of the value 
produced and of the surplus-value. If the limit of the working- 
day is given, and also the limit of its necessary constituent, the- 
mass of value and surplus-value that an individual capitalist 
produces, is clearly exclusively dependent on the mass of labour 
that he sets in motion. But this, under the conditions supposed 
above, depends on the mass of labour-power, or the number of 
labourers whom he exploits, and this number in its turn is 
determined by the amount of the variable capital advanced. 
With a given rate of surplus-value, and a given value of labour- 
po,ver, therefore, the masses of surplus-value produced vary 
dir0ctly a..t; the amounts of the variable capitals advanced. 

Rate a1ld .J1"ass of Surplus-Vatu,. 293 

Now we know that the capitalist divides his capital into two 
pa.rts. One part he lays out in means of production. This is 
the constant part of hig capital. The other part he lays out in 
living labour-power. This part forms his variable capital. On 
the basis of the same mode of social production, the division of 
capital into constant and variable differs in different branches 
of production, and within the same branch of production, too, 
this relation changes \vith changes in the technical conditions 
and in the social combinations of the processes of production. 
But in \vhatever proportion a. given capital breaks up into a 
constant and a variable part, ,vhether the latter is to the former 
as 1 : 2 or 1 : 10 or 1 : x, the la\v just laid down is not affected 
Ly this. For, according to our previous analysis, the value of 
the constant capital reappears in the value of the product, but 
does not enter into the newly produced value, the newly 
created value-product. To enlploy 1000 spinners, more raw 
material, spindles, &c., are, of course, required, than to ernploy 
100. Tùe value of these additional Jneans of production how- 
ever, may rise, fall, remain unaltered, be large or small; it has 
no influence on the process of creation of surplus-value by 
JlleanS of the labour-powers that put them in motion. The la.w 
demonstrated above now, therefore, takes this form: the masses 
of value and of surplus-value produced by different capitals- 
the value of labour-power being given and it.
 degree of ex- 
ploitation being equal-vary directly as the amounts of the 
variable constituents of these capitals, i.e., as their constituent.'3 
transformed into living labour-power. 
'rhis law clearly contradicts all experience based on appear- 
ance. Everyone knows that a cotton spinner, who, reckoning 
the percentage on the whole of his applied capital, employs 
luuch constant and little variable capital, doe!i not, on account 
-of this, pocket less profit or surplus-value than a baker, who 
relatively sets in 111otion much variable and little constant 
capital. For the Rolution of this apparent contradiction, many 
intenueJiate terms are as yet want.ed, as from the standpoint 
of elelnentary algebra many intermediate terms are wanted to 
understand that 
 may represent an actual magnitude. Classical 
econoJny, a]though not formulating the law, holds instinctively 


Caþ Productio1l. 

to it, because it is a necessary consequence of the general 1a\v 
of value. It tries to rescue the law froln collision ,vith 
contradictory phenomena by a violent abstractioll. It will be 
seen later 1 how the school of Ricardo has come to grief over 
this stumbling-block. Vulgar economy which, indeed, "has 
really learnt nothing," here as everywhere sticks to appearances. 
in opposition to the law which regulates and explains them. 
In opposition to Spinoza, it believes that "ignorance iR a suffi- 
cien treason." 
The labour which is set in motion by the total capital of a 
society, day in, day out, may be regarded as a single collective 
working-day. If, e.g., the number of labourers is a million, and 
the average working-day of a labourer is 10 hours, the social 
working-day consists often million hours. With a given length 
of this working-day, whether its limits are fixed physically 
or socially, the Inass of surplus-value can only be increased by 
increasing the number of labourers, i.e., of the labouring 
population. The growth of population here forms the mathe- 
matical Hmit to the production of surplus-value by the total 
social capital. On the contrary, with a given amount of 
population, this limit is formed by the possible lengthening of 
the working-day.' It will, however, be seen in the following 
chapter that this law only holds for the form of surplus-value 
dealt with up to the present. 
From the treatment of the production of surplus-value, so 
lar, it follows that not every sum of money, or of value, is at 
pleasure transformable into capital. To effect this transforma- 
tion, in fact) a certain minimum of money or of exchange-value 
must be presupposed in the hands of the individual possessor 
of money or commodities. The minimum of variable capital is 
the cost price of a single labour-power, employed the whole 
year through, day in, day out, for the production of surplus- 
value. If this labourer were in possession of his own llleans 

1 Further particulars will be given in Book IV. 

 "The labour, that ill the economic time, of soci.ty, is .. given portion, Bay ten 
hours a. day of a. million of people, or ten million hours. . . . . Capital has its 
boundary of incr&asf.>. Thiø boundary may, at any given period, be attained ill the 
actual extent of economio time employed." (' An Essay on the Political Economy of 
Nations." London, 1821, pp. 47 J 4!J.) 

Rate a1zd lIIass of SZlrþlus- Value. 295 

of production, and were satisfied to live as a labourer, he need 
not work beyond the tÏ1ne necessary for the reproduction of 
his means of subsistence, say 8 hours a day. lIe would, besides, 
only require the means of pt'oduction sufficient for 8 working 
hours. The capitalist, on the other hand, who makes him do, 
ides these 8 hours, say 4 hours' surplus-labour, requires an 
additional sum of money for furnishing the additional means 
of production. On our supposition, ho,vever, he would have to 
employ two labourers in order to live, on the surplus-value 
appropriated daily, as well as, and no better than a labourer, 
i.e., to be able to satisfy his necessary wants. In this case the 
mere maintenance of life would be the end of his production, 
not the increase of wealth; but this latter is implied in 
capitalist production. That he may live only twice as well 
as an ordinary labourer, and besides turn half of the surplus- 
value produced into capital, he would have to raise, with the 
number of labourers, the minimum of the capital advanced 8 
times. Of course he can, like his labourer, take to work him- 
self, participate directly in tbe prOCe&8 of production, but he is 
then only a hybrid between capitalist and labourer, a Ie small 
master." A certain stage of capitalist production necessitates 
that the ca.pitalist be able to devote the whole of the ti Dle 
during which he functions as a capitalist, i.e., a.4"i personified 
capital, to the appropriation and therefore control of the labour 
of others, and to the selling of the product
 of this labour. 1 
The guilds of the middle ages therefore tried to prevent by 
force the transformation of the master of a trade into a 
capitalist, by limiting the number of labourers that could be 
1 Ie The farmer cannot rely on his own labour, and if he does, I will maintain that 
he Ì!I a loser by it. His employment .bonld be a general attention to the whole: hi. 
threøher must be watched, or he will aoon lOBe hiB wages in corn not threshed out; 
his mowers, reapers, &0., must be looked after; he must constantly go round hi. 
fencell ; he must Bce there is no neglect; which would be the case if be was confined 
to anyone spot." (" An Inquiry into the connection between the Price of Provisions 
and the Size of Farms, &c. By a Farmer." London, 1773, p. 12.) This book is very 
interesting. In it the genesis of the" capitalist farmer" or "merchant farmer," as 
he is explicitly called, may be studied, and his self-glorification at the expense of the 
8mall farmer who ha.s only to do with bare Bubaistence, be noted. "The class of 
 are from the first partially, and they become ultimately completely, dis. 
charged from the necessity of the m:\nuallabour." (" Text-book of Lectures on the 
Political Economy of Nations. By the Rev. Richard Jones." Hertford, 1852. 
1I8Cture III. p. 39.) 

29 6 

Caþitalist Production. 

employed by one master within a very small maximum. The 
possessor of money or comlßodities actually turns into 8. 
capitalist in such cases only where the minimum sum advanced 
for production greatly exceeds the maximum of the middle 
ages. Here, as in natural science, is shown the correctness of 
the law discovered by Hegel (in his (t Logic "), that mere]y 
quantitative differences beyond a certain point pass into 
qualitative changes. 1 
The minimum of the sum of value that the individual pos- 
sessor of money or commodities must comn1and, in order to 
metamorphose himself into a capitalist, changes with the 
different stages of development of capitalist production, and 
is at given stage
 different in different spheres of production, 
according to their special and technical conditions. Certain 
spheres of production demand, even at the very outset of capi- 
talist production, a minimum of capital that is not as yet 
found in the hands of single individuals. This gives rise partly 
to state subsidies to private persons, as in France in the time of 
Colbert, and as in many German states up to our own epoch j 
partly to the formation of societies with legal monopoly for the 
exploitation of certain branches of industry and commerce, the 
fore-runners of our modern joint-stock companies.' 
Within the process of production, as we have seen, capital 
acquired the command over labour, i.e., over functioning labour- 
I)Qwer or the labourer himself. Personified capital, the capi- 
talist takes care that the labourer does his work regularly and 
,vith the proper degree of intensity. 
Capital further developed into a coercive relation, whicb 

1 The molecula.r theory of modern chemistry first scientifically worked out by 
Laurent and Gerhardt rests on no other law. (Addition to 3rd Edition.) For the ex- 
planation of this Btatement, which is not very clear to non-chemists, we remark th&
the author speaks here of the homologous series of carbon compounds, first 80 named 
by O. Gerhardt in 1843, each series of which has its own general algebraic formula. 
ThuB the series of paraffins: cn H2n +2, that of the normal alcohols: CD H2n -t to ; 
()f the norma.l fatty acids: Cn H2n 0 2 and many others. In the above examples, by 
the simply quantitative addition of 0 H' to the molecular formula, a qualitatively 
different body is each time formed. On the share (overcstimated by Marx) of Laurent 
aud Gerhardt in the determination of this important fa.ct see Kopp, "Entwicklung 
der ühemle. JJ München, 1873, pp. 709, 716, and Schorlemmer, "Rise and Progress 
of Ori anic Chemistry. JJ London, 1879, p. 54.-Eù. 
I ðlartin Luther calls these kinds of ill
titutions: "The Company l\Ionopolia." 

Rate a1td llfass of Suyþlus- Value. 297 

.compels tbe working class to do more work than the narrO\V 
round of its O\VIl life- \vants prescribes. As a. producer of the 
activity of others, as a pumper-out of surplus-labour and ex- 
ploiter of labour-power, it surpasses in energy, disregard of 
bounds) recklessness and efficiency, all earlier systems of pro- 
duction based on directly compulsory labour. 
At first, capital subordinates labour on the basis of the tech- 
nical conditions in which it historically finds it. It does not, 
therefore, change immediately the mode of production. '.rhe 
l)roduction of surplus-value-in the fOlïn hitherto considered 
by us-by means of simple extension of the working-day, 
proved, therefore) to be independent of any change in the 
mode of production itself. It was not less active in the old- 
fashioned bakeries than in the modern cotton factories. 
If "\ve consider the process of production from the point of 
view' of the simple labour-process, the labourer stands in relation 
to the Ineans of production, not in their quality as capital, but 
as the mere means and material of his own intelligent pro- 
ductive activity. In tanning, e.g.) he deals with the skins &'J 
his simple object of labour. It is not the capitalist whose skin 
he tans. But it is different as soon as we deal with the proces.<J 
of production from the point of vie\v of the process of creation 
of surplus-value. The means of production are at once changed 
into means for the absorptiob of the labour of othe
. It is now 
no longer the labourer that employs the means of production, 
but the means of production that employ the labúurer. In- 
stead of being consun1ed by him as material elements of his 
productive activity, they consume him as the ferment neces- 
sary to their own life-process, and the life-process of capital 
consists only in its movement as value constantly expanding, 
constantly multiplying itself. Furnaces and workshops that 
stand idle by night, and absorb no living labour, are" a merc 
loss " to the capitalist. Hence, furnaces and \vorkshops con- 
stitute lawful claims upon the night-labour of the workpeople. 
The simple transforn1ation of mOl1ey into the material factors 
cÆ the process of production, into means of production, trans- 
forms the latter into a title and a right to the labour and 
-surplus-labour of others. An examule ,vill show) in conclusion, 

29 8 


how this sophistication, peculiar to and characteristic of capitalist 
production, this complete inversion of the relation l>etween dead 
and living labour, between value and the force that creates 
value, mirrors itself in the consciousness of capitalists. During 
the revolt of the English factory. lords between 1848 and 1850, 
If the head of one of the oldest and most respectable houses in 
the West of Scotland, 
Iessrs. Carlile Sons & Co., of the linen 
and cotton thread factory at Paisley, a company which has now 
existed for about a century, which was in operation in 1752, 
and four generations of the same family ha-,.e conducted it" . . . 
this (C very intelligent gentleman" then wrote a letterI in the 
II Glasgow Daily Mail" of April 25th, 1849, \vith the title, 
"The relay system," in which among other things the following 
grotesquely naïve passage occurs: "Let us now. . . see what 
evils will attend the limiting to 10 hours the working of the 
factory. They amount to the most serious damage to 
the mill-owner's prospects and property. lfhe (i.e., his "hands") 
worked 12 hours before, and is limited to 10, then every l
machines or spindles in his establishment shrink to 10, and 
should the works be dìBposed of, they will be valued only as 10, 
80 that a sixth part would thus be deducted from the value of 
every factory in the country:' 2 
To this West of Scotland bourgeois brain, inheriting the 
accumulated capitalistic qualities of "four generations," the 
value of the means of production, spindles, &c. is so inseparably 
mixed up with their property, as capital, to expand their own 
value, and to swallow up daily a definite quantity of the un- 
paid labour of others, that the head of the firm of Carlile & Co. 
actually imagines that if he sells his factory, not only will the 
value of the spindles be paid to hin1, but, in addition, their 
power of annexing surplus-value, not only the labour which is 
embodied in them, and is necessary to the production of spindles 
1 Report. of Insp. of Fact., April 30th, 1849, p. 59. 

 1. 0., p. 60. Fa.otory Inøpector Stua.rt, himself a Scotchman, and in contrast to- 
the English Factory Inlpecto1'8, quite taken captive by the capitaIil!tÍc method of 
thinking, remarks expressly on thiø letter which he incorporates in his report that it 
Is It the mod uBef. of the communications which any of the factory-owners working 
with rel&y. bave giV6la to those engaged in the same trade, and which is the most 
wculat.d to remove the prejudices of such of them as have scrUIJles re8pccting anT 
ehange of the arrangement of the hours of work." 

Rate and Mass of Surþlus- Value. 299 
of this kind, but also the surplus-labour which they help to 
pump out daily from the brave Scots of Paisley, and for that 
very reason he thinks that ,vith the shortening of the working- 
day by 2 hours, the selling-price of 12 spinning machines 
dwindles to that of 10 1 






THAT portion of the working-day which merely produces 
an equivalent for the value paid by the capitalist for his 
labour-power, bas, up to this point, been treated by us as 
a constant magnitude j and such in fact it is, under given 
conditions of production and at a given stage in the econo- 
mical development of society. Beyond this, his necessary 
labour-time, the labourer, we saw, could continue to work 
for 2. 3, 4, 6, &c., hours. The rate of surplus-value and 
the length of the ,vorking day depended on the ll1agni- 
tude of this prolongation. Thougb the necessary labour- 
time was constant, we saw, on the other hand, that the 
total working-day was variable. Now suppose we have a 
working-day ,vhose length, and whose apportionment be- 
tween necessary labour and surplus-labour, are given. Let 
the whole line a c, a b-c represent, for example, 
a working-da
r of 12 hours; the portion of a b 10 hours 

The Conceþt of Relatz've Surþlz/,s- Value. 3 0 r 

of necessary labour, and the portion b c 2 hours of surplus- 
labour. Ho\v now can the production of surplus-value be 
incre88ed, i.e., how can the surplus-labour be prolonged, with- 
out, or independently of, any prolongation of a c 1 
Although the length of a c is given, b c appears to be capable 
of prolongation, if not by extension beyond its end c, which is 
also the end of the working day a c, yet, at all events, by push- 
ing back its starting point b in the direction of a. Assume 
that b' -b in the line a b' b c is equal to half of b c 
a b'-b--c 
or to one hour's labour-time. If no\v, in a c, the working day 
of 12 hours, we move the point b to b', b c becomes b' c; the 
surplus-labour increases by one half, from 2 hours to 3 hours, 
although the working day ren1ains as before at 12 hours. 
This extension of the surplus labour-time from b c to b' c, frolD 
2 hours to 3 hours, is, ho\vever, evidently impossible, without a 
simultaneous contraction of the nece
sary lahour-tÏ1ne fronl 
a b into a b', from 10 hours to 9 hours. The prolongation of 
the surplus-labour would correspond to a shortening of the 
necessary labour; or a portion of the labour-time previously 
consumed, in reality, for the labourer's own benefit, would be 
converted into labour-time for the benefit of the capitalist. 
'rhere would be an alteration, not in the length of the working 
day, but in its division into necessary labour-time and surplus 
On the other hand, it is evident that the duration of the 
surplus-labour i
 given, when the length of the working day, 
and the value of labour-power, are given. The value of 
labour-power, i.e., the labour-time requisite to produce labour- 
power, determines the ]abour-time necessary for the repro- 
du,tion of that value. If one working hour be em bodied in 
Rix ence, and the value of a day's labour-power be five shillings, 
the labourer must work 10 hours a day, in order to replace 
the value paid by capital for his labour-power, or to produce 
an equivalent for the value of his daily necessary means of Bub- 
s] stence. Given the value of these means of subsistence, the 
valuo of his labour-power is given;1 and given the value of his 
1 The value of his avera
e daily wages i. determined by what the labourer requires 

3 02 

Caþitalist P1

labour-power, the duration of his necessary labour-time is given. 
The duration of the surplus-labour, ho\vever, is arrived at, by 
au btracting the necessary labour-time from the total working 
day. Ten hours subtracted from t\velve, leave two, and it is 
not easy to see, how, under the given conditions, the surplus- 
labour can possibly be prolonged beyond two hours. No 
doubt, the capitalist can, instead of five shillings, pay the 
labourer four shillings and sixpence or even less. For the re- 
production of this value of four shillings and sixpence, nine 
hours labour-time would suffice; and consequently three hours 
of surplus-labour, instead of t\VO, would accrue to the capitalist, 
and the surplus-value would rise from one shilling to eighteen- 
pence. This result, however, would be obtained only by lowering 
the wages of the labourer below the value of his labour-power. 
With the four shillings and sixpence which he produces in nine 
hours, he commands one-tenth less of the necessaries of life than 
before, and consequently the proper reproduction of his labour- 
power is crippled. The surplus-labour would in this case be 
prolonged only by an overstepping of its normal limits; its 
domain would be extended only by a usurpation of part of the 
domain of necessary labour-time. Despite the important part 
which this method plays in actual practice, we are excluded 
from considering it in this place, by our assumption, that all 
commodities, including labour-power, are bought and sold at 
their full value. Granted this, it follows that the labour-time 
necessary for the production of labour-power, or for the repro- 
duction of its value, cannot be lessened by a fall in the 
labourer's wages below the value of his labour-power, but only 
by a fall in this value itself. Given the length of the working 
day, the prolongation of the Burplus-labour must of necessity 
u 80 as to live, labour, and generate." (Wm. Petty: "Politica.l Anatomy of Ireland, " 
1672, p. 64.) "The price of Labour is always constituted of the price of necessaries 
. . . whenever. . . . the labouring man's wages will not, suitably to his low rank a.nd 
station, as a labouring man, 8UPPOrt such a family as i8 often the lot of ma.ny of them 
to have," he does not receiye proper wages. (J. Vanderlint, 1. c. p. 15.) "Le 8imple 
ouvrier, qui n'a que Bes bras et son industrie, n'a rien qu'autant qu'il parvient à 
vendre à d'autres sa peine. . . En tout genre de travail n doit arriver, et i1 arrive en 
effet, que Ie salaire de l'ouvrier lie borne à ce qui lui est nécessaire pour lui procurer 
øa subsistance." (Turgot, Réß.exions, &c., Oeuvres ed. Dairet. Y. p.lO). U The price 
of the nece8saries of life is, in fact, the cost of producing labour." (Ma.lthus, 
Inquiry into, &c., Rent, London, 1815, p. 48 note). 

The C01tCeþt of Relative Surþlus- Value. 3 0 3 
originate in the curtailment of the necessary labour-time; U{e 
latter cannot arise from the former. In the example we have 
taken, it is necessary that the value of labour-po\ver should 
actually fall by one-tenth, in order that the necessary lnbour- 
time may be diminished by one-tenth, i.e., from ten hours to 
nine, and in order that the surplus-labour may conBequently 
be prolonged fr01n two hours to three. 
Such a fall in the value of labour-power iU1plies, however, 
that the same necessaries of life \vhich were formerly produced 
in ten hours, can now be produced in nine hours. But this is 
Ì1npossible without an increase in the productiveness of labour. 
For example, suppose a shoemaker, with given tools, makes in 
one working day of twelve hours, one pair of boots. If he 
lilust make two pairs in the same time, the productiveness of 
his labour must be doubled; and this cannot be done, except 
by an alteration in his tools or in his lllode of working, or in 
b,-\th. Hence, the conditions of production, i.e., his nlode of 
production, and the labour-process itself, nlust be revolu- 
tionised. By increase in the productiveness of hlbour, we 
Incan, generally, an alteration in the labour-process, of such a 
kind as to shorten the labour-time socia.lIy Ilt'CeSsary for the 
production of a commodity, and to endow a given quantity of 
labour with the power of producing a greater (plantity of use- 
value. 1 Hitherto in treating of 8 1 1rplus-value, arising from a 
silnple prolongation of the ,vorking day, \ve have assumed the 
mode of production to be given and invariable. But when 
surplus-value has to be produced by the conversion of necessary 
labour into surplus-labour, it by no Ineans suínces for capital 
to take over the labour-process in the form under which it ha
been historically hånùed down, and then simply to prulong tbe 
duration of that process. The technical and social conJition
of the process, and consequently the very mode of production 
must be revolutionised, before the productiveness of labour can 
be increased. By that means aione can the value of labour- 

1 "Quando øi perfezionano Ie arti, che non ê altro che Ia. 8coperta. di nuove vie, ondo 
Ii posøa compiere una manufattura con meno gente 0 (che è 10 stl'sso) in minor tempo 
di prima." (Galiani 1. c. p. 159.) "L'économie Bur 1eB frais de proùuction ne peu 
done être autre chose, que l'économie Bur Ia quantité ds travail employé pour 
produire." (SiBmondi Etudes t. L p. 22.) 

3 0 4 

Caþitalist Production. 

power be made to sink, and the portion of the working day 
necessary for the reproduction of that value, be shortened. 
The surplus-value produced by prolongation of the working' 
day, I call absolute surplus-value. On the other band, the 
Burplus-value arising from the curtailment of the necessary 
labour-time, and from the corresponding alteration in the re- 
spective lengths of the two components of the working day, I 
call relatit'e ttUrplus-value. 
In order to effect a fall in the value of labour-power, the in- 
crease in the productiveness of labour must seize upon those 
branches of industry, whose products determine the value of 
Jabour-power, and consequently either belong to the class of 
customary means of subsistence, or are capable of supplying 
the place of those means. But the value of a commodity is de- 
termined, not only by the quantity of labour which the 
labourer directly bestows upon that commodity, but also by the 
labour contained in the means of production. For instance, 
the value of a pair of boots depends, not only on the cobbler's 
labour, but also on the value of the leather, wax, thread, &c. 
lienee, a fall in the value of labour-power is also brought about 
by an increase in the productiveness of labour, and by a corres- 
ponding cheapening of commodities in those industries which 
supply the instruments of labour and the raw material, that 
form tbe material elements of the constant capital required for 
producing the necessaries of life. But an increase in the pro- 
ductiveness of labour in those branches of industry which 
supply neitber the necessaries of life, nor the means of produc- 
tion for such nece3saries, leaves tbe value of labour-power un- 
The cheapened commodity, of course, causes only a pro 
tanto fall in the value of labour-power, a fall proportional to 
the extent of that commodity's employment in the reproduc- 
tion of labour-power. Shirts, for instance, are a necessary 
means of subsistence, but are only one out of many. Tho 
totality of the necessaries of life consists, however, of various 
commodities, each the product of a di
tinct industry; and the 
value of C'acb of those commodities enters as a component part 
into the value of labour-power. This latter value decrease.

The Conceþt of Relative Surþlus- Value. 3 0 5 

with the decrease of the labour-time necessary for its reproduc- 
tion; the total decrease being the sum of all the different cur- 
tailments of labour-time effected in those various and distinct 
industries. This general result is treated, here, as if it ,vere 
the immediate result directly aimed at in each individual case. 
Whenever an individual capitalist cheapens shirts, for instance t 
by increasing the productiveness of labour, he by no mean
necessarily aims at reducing the value of labour-po,ver and 
shortening, pro tanto, the necessary labour-time. But it is only 
in so far as he ultimately contributes to this result, that he 
assists in raising the general rate of surplus-value.' The 
general and necessary tendencies of capital must be distin- 
guished from their forms of manifestation. 
It is not our intention to consider, here, the way in which 
the laws, immanent in capitalist production, manifest them- 
selves in the movements of individual masses of caphal, \vhcre 
they assert themselves as coercive laws of competition, anù arø 
brought home to the mind and consciousness of the individual 
capitalist as the directing motives of hi::! operations. But this 
much is clear; a scientific analysis of competition is not 
possible, before we bave a conception of the inner nature of 
capital, just as the apparent motions of the heavenly boJies 
are not intelligible to any but him, who is acquainted \vith 
their real motions, motions which are not directly perceptible 
by the senses. Nevertheless, for the better comprehension of 
the production of relative surplus-va.lue, we may add the 
following remarks, in which we assume nothing more than the 
results we have already obtained. 
If one hour's labour is embodied in sixpence, a value of six 
shillings will be produced in a working day of 12 hours. 
Su ppose, that with the prevailing productiveness of labour, 12 
ar""icles are produced in these 12 hours. Let the value of the 
means of production used up in each article be sixpence. Under 
these circumstances, each article costs one shilling: sixpence 
for the value of the means of production, and sixpence for the 
1 "Let us 8uppose. . . . . the products. .. . . of the manufacturer are doubled by 
mprovement in machinery. . . he will be abl
 to clothe bis workmen by means d... 
a smaller proportion of the entire return. . . and thus his profit will be raiøell 
B\lt in no other way will it be influenced." (Ramsay, I. c. p. 168, 169.) 

3 06 

Caþitalist Productzon. 

value newly added in working with those means. Now let 
Borne one capitalist contrive to double tbe productiveness of 
labour, and to produce in the working day of 12 hours, 24 in- 
stead of 12 such articles. The value of the means of produc- 
tion remaining the same, the value of each article will fall to 
ninepence, made up of sixpence for the value of the means of 
production and threepence for the value newly added by the 
labour. Despite the doubled productiveness of labour, the 
day's labour creates, as before, a new value of six shillings and 
no more, which, however, is now spread over twice as many 
articles. Of this value each article now has embodied in it -hth, 
instead of 
.th, threepence instead of sixpence; or, what 
amounts to the same thing, only half an hour's instead of a 
whole hour's labour-time, is now added to the means of pro- 
duction ,,
hile they are bejng transformed into each article. 
The individual value of these articles is now below their social 
value; in other words, they have cost less labour-time than 
the great bulk of the same article produced under the average 
social conditions. Each article costs, on an average, one shilling, 
and represents 2 hours of social labour ; but under the altered 
mode of production it costs only ninepence, or contains only I! 
hours' labour. The real value of a commodity is, however, not 
its individual value, but ib3 social value; that is to say, the 
real value is not measured by the labour-time that the article 
in each individual case costs the producer, but by the labour- 
time socially required for its production. If therefore, the 
capitalist who applies the new method, sells bis commodity 
at its social value of one shilling, he sells it for threepence 
above its individuai value, and thus realises an extra surplus- 
value of threepence. On the other hand, the working day of 
12 hours is, as regards him, now represented by 24 articles 
instead of 12. Hence, in order to get rid of the product of 
one ,vorking day, the demand must be double what it was, i.e., 
the market must become twice as extensive. Other things 
being equal, his cOffilnodities can command a more extended 
Inarket only by a diminution of their prices. He will there- 
fore sell them above their individual but under their social 
value, say at tenpence each. By this means he still squeezes 

The Conceþt of Relative S21rþlus- Value. 3 0 7 

an extra surplus-value of one penny out of each. This aug- 
mentation of surplus-value is pocketed by hilll, ,vhether his 
cOlnmodities belong or not to the class of necessary llleans of 
subsistence that participate in deterlnining the general value of 
labour-power. Hence, independently of this latter circumstance, 
there is a motive for each individual capitalist tu cheapen 
his conl11iodities, by increasing the productivenes
 of labour. 
Nevertheless, even in this case, the increased production of 
surplus-value arises from the curtailment of the necessary 
labour-time, and from the corresponding prolongation of the 
surplus-labour! Let the necessary labour-tirne aIllount to 
10 hours, the value of a day's labour. power to five shillings, the 
surplus labour-tilHe to 2 hours, and the daily surplus-value to 
one shilling. But the capitalist now produces 24 articles, 
which he sells at tenpence a-piece, making t\venty shiHings in 
all. Since the value of the means of production is twelve 
shillings, 14j of these articles merely replace the constant 
capital advanced. The labour of the 12 hours' ,vorkin
 day is 
represented by the remaining 9i articles. Since the price of 
the labour-power is five shillings, 6 articles represent the 
necessary labour-tiule, and 31 articles the surplus-Iauour. The 
ratio of the necessary labour to the surplus-labour, which under 
average social conditions ,vas 5: I, is now only 5 ::3 The 
same result may be arrived at in the follo\ving way. The 
value of the product of the working day of 1 
 hours is twenty 
shillings. Of this sum, twelve shillings belong to the val ue of 
the means of production, a value that merely re-appears. 
There relnain eight shillings, which are the expJession in 
money, of the value newly created during the working day. 
This sum is greater than the sum in ,vhich averdge social 
labour of the same kind is expressed: t,velve hourH of the 
latter labour are expressed by six shillings only. The excep- 
tionally productive labour operates as intensified laLour; it 

1 " A man's profit doc! not depend upon his command of the produce of other men's 
1abour, but upon his command of labour itself. If he can sell his gooùs at a. higher 
price, while his workmen's wages rp.main unaltered, he is clearly btmefited. . . . A 
smaller proportion of what he produces is sufficient to put that labour into motion, 
and a larger proportion consequently remains for himself." (" Outlines of Pol. Econ. ,. 
London, 1832, pp. 49, 50.) 

3 08 

Caþz"talzst Production. 

creates in equal periods of time greater values than average- 
Bociallabour of the same kind. (See Ch. 1. Sect. 1. p. 11.) Eu t 
our capitalist still continues to pay as before only five shillings 
as the value of a day's labour-power. Hence, instead of 10 
hours, the labourer need now work only 7-1 hours, in order to 
re-produce thi
 value. His surplus-labour is, therefore, in- 
creased by 2! hours, and the surplus-value he produces gro,vs 
from one, into three shillings. Hence, the capitalist who 
applies the improved method of production, appropriates to 
surplus-labour a greater portion of the working day, than the 
other capitalists in the same trade. He does individually,. 
what the whole body of capitalists engaged in producing re- 
lative surplus-value, do collectively. On the other band, 
however, this extra surplus-value vanishes, so soon as the ne,v 
method of production has become general, and has consequently 
caused the difference between the inrlividual value of the 
cheapened commodity and its social value to vanish. The law 
of the determination of value by labour-time, a law which 
brings under its sway the individual capitalist who applies 
the new method of production, by compelling him to sell his 
goods under their social value, this same law, acting as a co- 

rcive law of competition, forces his conlpetitors to adopt the 
ne"\v method. 1 The general rate of surplus-value is, therefore, 
ultimately affected by the whole process, only when the in- 
crease in the productiveness of labour, bas seized upon those 
branches of production that are connected with, and has 
cheapened those commodities that form part of, the necessary 
means of subsistence, and are therefore eleT.nents of the value 
of ]abour-power. 
The value of commodities is in inverse ratio to the produc- 
tiveness of labour. And so, too, is the value of labour-power, 
because it depends on the values of commodities. Relative- 

1 "If my neighbour by doing much with little labour, can Bell cheap, I must con- 
trive to sell as cheap as he. So that every art, trade, or engine, doing work with 
labour of fewer hands, a.nd consequently cheu.per, begets in others a kind of necessity 
and emulation, either of using the same aT'.., trade, or engine, or of inventing some- 
thing like it, that every man may be upon the square, that no man may be able to 
undersell his neighbour." (" The Adv\ntages of the East India Trade to England.'" 
London, 1720, p. 67.) 

The C01tCeþt 0/ Relative Surþlus- Value. 3 0 9 

surplus-value is, on the contrary, directly proportional to that 
productiveness. It rises with rising and falls with falling 
productiveness. The value of money being assumed to be 
constant, an average social working day of 12 hours always 
produces the same new value, six shillings, no matter how this 
sum may be apportioned between Burplus-value and wages. 
But if. in consequence of increased productiveness, the value 
of the necessaries of life faU, and the value of a day's labour- 
power be thereby reduced from five shillings to three, the sur- 
plus-value increases from one shilling to three. Ten hours 
were necessary for the reproduction of the value of the labour- 
power; now only six are required. Four hours have been set 
free, and can be annexed to the domain of surplus-labour. 
lIence there is immanent in capital an inclination and constant 
tendency, to heighten the productiveness of labour, in order to 
cheapen commodities, and by such cheapening to cheapen the 
labourer himself. l 
The value of a commodity is, in itself: of no interest to the 
capitalist. What alone interests him, is the surplus-value that 
d wells in it, and is realisable by sale. Realisation of the sur- 
plus-value necessarily carries with it the refunding of the value 
that \vas advanced. N ow, sin
ð relative surplus-value in- 
creases in direct proportion to the development of the produc- 
tiveness of labour, while, on the other hand, the value of com- 
1110dities diminishes in the same proportion; since one and the 
same process cheapens commodities, and augments the surplus- 
value contained in them; we have here the solution of the 
riddle: why does the capitalist, whose Bole concern is the pro- 
Juction of exchange-value, continually strive to depress the 
exchange-value of commodities 'I A riddle with which Quesnay, 
1 " In whatever proportion the expenses of a labourer are diminished, in the 
proportion will his wages be diminished, ü the restraints upon industry are at the 
same time taken off." (" Considerations concerning taking off the Bounty on Corn Ex- 
ported," kc., Lond., 1753, p. 7.) "The interest of trade requires, that corn and all 
provisions should be as cheap as possible; for whatever makes them dear, must make 
labour dear also. . . in all countries, where industry is not restrained, the price of 
provisions must affect the price of labour. This will always be diminished when tho 
necessaries of life grow cheaper." (1. c. p. 3.) U Wages are decreased in the san 
proportion as the powers of production increase. Machinery, it is true, cheapens t 
necessaries of life, but it also cheapens the labourer." (" A Prize Essay on t ' 
Cumparative Merits of Oompetition and Co-operation." London, 1834, p. 21.) 

3 10 

Caþitalist Productio1l. 

one of the founders of political economy, tormented his 
opponents, and to which they could give him no answer. 
(( You ackno\vledge," he says, "that the more expenses and the 
cost of labour can, in the manufacture of industrial products, 
be reduced without injury to production, the more advantage- 
ous is such reduction, because it diminishes the price of the 
finished article. And yet: you believe that the production of 
wealth, which arises from the labour of the workpeople, con- 
sists in the augmentation of the exchange-value of their 
products." 1 
The shortening of the working day is, therefore, by no 
means what is aimed at, in capitalist production, when labour 
is economised by increasing its productiveness. 2 It is only the 
 of the labour-time, necessary for the production of 
a definite quantity of commodi ties, that is aimed at. The fact 
that the workman, when the productiveness of his labour has 
been increased, produces, say 10 times as many commodities as 
'before, and thus spends one-tenth as much labour-time on each, 
'by no means prevents him from continuing to work 12 hours as 
before, nor from protlucing in those 12 hours 1200 articles in- 
stead of .120. Nay, more, his working day may be prolonged 
at the same time, so as to make him produce, sa.y 1400 articles 
in 14 hours. In the treatises, therefore, of economists of the 
stamp of 1facCulloch, Ure, Senior, and tutti quanti, we may 
read upon one page, that the labourer owes a debt of gratitude 
to capital for developing his productiveness, because the 
necessary labour-time is thereby shortened, and on the next 
page, that he must prove his gratitude by working in future 
1 U lIs conviennent qne plus on pent, sa.ns préjudice, épargner de frais ou de travaux 
dispendieux dans 130 fabrication des ouvrages des artisans, plus cette épargne est pro- 
fitable par 130 diminution des prix de ces ouvrages. Cependant ils croient que la pro- 
ùnction de richesse qui résulte des 
Iavaux des artisans consiste dans l'augmentation. 
de 130 valeur vénale de leurs onvrages. It (Que/may: "Dialogues sur Ie Commerce et sur 
leB Travaux deB a.rtisan!," pp. 188,189.) 
2 "Ces spéculateurs si 6conomes du travail des ouvriers qu'il fauùrait qu'ils pay- 
assent." (J. N. Bidaut: H Du Monopole qui s'établit dans les arts industriels et le- 
commerce." Paris, 1828, p. 13.) "The employer will be always on the stretch to 
economise time and labour." (Dugald Stewart: 'Yorks ed. by Sir 'V. Hamilton. 
Edinburgh, v. vüi., 1855. Lectures on Polit, Econ., p. 318.) "Their (the capitalists') 
interest is that the proJuctive powers of the labourers they employ should be the- 
grp..atest possible. On promoting that power their attention is fixed and almost e.x 
elusively fixed." (R. Jones: I c. I ecture III.) 

Co- Oþe1'at i01t. 

3 11 

for 15 hours instead of 10. The objeet of all development of 
the productiveness of labour, within the limits of capitaliRt 
production, is to shorten that part of the working day, during 
,vhich the ,vorkman must labour for his o,vn benefit, and by 
that very shortening, to lengthen the other part of the day, 
during which he is at liberty to work gratis for the capitalist. 
How far this result is also attainable, without cheapening 
commodities, will appear from an exaluination of the particular 
modes of producing relative surplus-value, to which exalnina- 
tion ,ve now proceed. 


CAPITALIST production only then really begins, as ,ve have 
already seen, ,vhen each individual capital employs simultane- 
ously a comparatively large number of labourers; when conse- 
quently the labour-process is carried on on an extensive scale 
and yields, relatively, large quantities of products. A greater 
number of labourers working together, at tho same time, in 
one place (or, if you will, in the sallie field of labour), in order 
to produce the san1e sort of commodity under the lnastership 
of one capitalist, constitutes, both historically and logically, 
the starting point of capitalist production. \Vith regard to 
the mode of production itself, manufacture, in its strict mean- 
ing, is hardly to be distinguished, in its earliest stages, from 
the handicraft trades of the guilds, otberwise than by the 
greater number of workmen simultaneouslyernployed by one 
and the same individual capital. The workshop of the 
mec1iæval master handicraftsman is simply enlarged. 
At first, therefore, the difference is purely quantitative. We 
have shown that the surplus-value produced by a given capital 
is equal to the surplus-value produced by each workman mul- 
tiplied by the number of workmen simultaneously employed. 
The number of workmen in itself does not affect, either the rate 
of surplus-value, or the degree of exploitation of labour-power. 
If a working day of 12 hours be embodied in six shillings, 1200 

3 12 

Caþ'italist Production. 

such days will be embodied in 1200 times 6 shillings. In one 
case 12 X 1200 working hours, and in the other 12 such hours 
are incorporated in the product. In the production of value 
a number of workmen rank merely as so many individual 
workmen; and it therefore makes no difference in the value 
produced whether the 1200 men work separately, or united 
under the control of one capitalisfj. 
Nevertheless, within certain limits, a modification takes 
place. The labour realised in value, is labour of an average 
social quality; is consequently the expenditure of average 
labour-power. .Any average magnitude, ho,vever, is merely 
the average of a number of separate magnitudes all of one 
kind, but differing as to quantity. In every industry, each 
individual labourer, be he Peter or Paul, differs from the 
average labourer. These individual differences, or (( err0rs II 
as they are called in mathematics, compensate one another, 
and vanish, whenever a certain minimum number of workmen 
are enlployed together. The celebrated sophist and sycophant, 
Edmund Burke, goes so far as to make the following assertion, 
based on his practical observations as a farmer; viz., that" in 
so small a platoon" as that of :five farm labourers, all indi. 
vidual differences in the labour vanish, and that consequently 
any given :five adult farm labourers taken together, will in the ' 
same time do as much work as any other five.! But, however 
that may be, it is clear, that the collective working day of a 
large number of workmen simultaneously employed, divided 
by the nnmber of these workmen, gives one day of average 
social labour. For example, let the working day of eaclJ. 
individual be 12 hours. Then the collective working day of 
12 men simultaneously employed, consists of 144 hours; and 
although the labour of each of the dozen men may deviate 

1 "Unquestionably, there is a good deal of difference between the value ot one 
man's labour and that of another from strength, dexterity, and honest application. 
But I am quite sure, from my best observa.tion, that any given five men will, in their 
total, afford a proportion of labour equal to any other five within the periods of life I 
have stated; that is, that among such five men ther'3 will be one possessing all the 
qualifications of a. good workman, one bad, and the, other three middling, and ap- 
proximating to the first and the last. So that in so small a platoon as that of eveD 
five, you will find the full complement of all that five men can earn." (E. Burke, 1. 
c. p. 15, 16). Compare Quételet on the average individual. 

Co- Operation. 

3 1 3 

more or less from average social labour, each of them requiring 
a different time for the same operation, yet since the work- 
ing day of each is one-twelfth of the collective working day 
of 144 hours, it possesses the qualities of an average social 
working day. From the point of view, ho,vever, of the capi- 
talist who employs these 12 men, the working day is that of 
the whole dozen. Each individual man's day is an aliquot 
part of the collective working day, no matter whether the 12 
men assist one another in their work, or whether the connexion 
between their operations consists merely in the fact, that the 
men are all working for the same capitalist. But if the ] 2 
men are employed in six pairs, by as Inany different small 
masters, it will be quite a matter of chance, whether each of 
these masters produces the same value, and consequently 
whether he realises the general rate of surplus-value. Devia- 
tions would occur in individual cases. If one workman re- 
quired considerably more time for the production of a com- 
modity than is socially necessary, the duration of the nece
labour-time would, in his case, sensibly deviate from the 
labour-time socially necessary on an average; and consequently 
his labour would not count as average labour, nor bis labour- 
po,ver as average labour-power. It would either be not sale- 
aLle at aU, or only at sOlnething below the average value of 
labour-power. A fixed minimum of efficiency in all labour is 
therefore assumed, and we shall see, later on, that capita- 
list product.ion provides the means of fixing this minimum., this minimum deviates from the average, al- 
though on the other hand the capitalist has to pay the average 
value of labour-power. Of the six sn1all masters, one would 
therefore squeeze out more than the average rate of surplus- 
value, another less. The inequalities ,vould be compensated 
for the society at large, but not for the individual masters. 
Thus the laws of the proùuction of value are only fully realised 
for the individual producer, ,vhen he produces as a capitalist, 
and employes a number of ,vorkmen together, whose labour, 
by its collective nature, is at once stamped as average social 
labour. l 

1 Professor Roscher claims to have discovered that one needlewoman employed by 

3 1 4 

Caþitalist Productio1Z. 

Even without an alteration in the system of working, the 
simultaneous employment of a large number of labourers 
effects a revolution in the material conditions of the labour- 
process. The buildings in which they work, the store-houses 
for the raw material, the implements and utensils used simul- 
taneously or in turns by the workmen; in short, a portion of 
the means of production, are now consumed in common. On 
the one hand, the exchange-value of these means of production 
is not increased; for the exchange-value of a commodity is not 
raised by its use-value being consumed more thoroughly and to 
greater advantage. On the other band, they are used in com- 
mon, and therefore on a larger scale than before. A room 
whero twenty weavers work at twenty looms must be larger 
than the room of a single weaver with two assistants. But it 
costs less labour to build one workshop for t"\\'"enty persons 
than to build ten to accommodate two weavers each; thus 
the value of the means of production that are concentrated for 
use in common on a large scale does not increase in direct pro- 
portion to the expansion and to the increased useful effect of 
those means. 'Vhen consumed in common, they give up a 
smaller part of their value to each single product; partly 
because the total value they part with is spread over a greater 
quantity of products, and partJy because their value, though 
absolutely greater, is, having regard to their sphere of action in 
the process, relatively less than the value of isolated means of 
production. Owing to this, the value of a part of the constant 
capital falls, and in proportion to the magnitude of the fall, the 
total value of the commodity also fans. The effect is the san1ß- 
as if the means of production had cost less. The economy 
in their application is entirely owing to their being con- 
Bumed in common by a large number of ,vorkmen. 1ioreover, 
this character of being necessary conditions of social labour, a 
character that distinguishes them from the dispersed a.nd 
relatively more costly means of production of isolated, inde- 
pendent labourers, or small masters, is acquired even ,vhen the. 
Mrs. Roscher during two days, does more work than two needlewomen employed 
together during one day. The learned professor shoultl not study the capitalist pro. 
cess of production in the nursery, nor unùer circumstances where the principal per- 
IOnage, the capitalist, is wanting. 


3 1 5 

numerous workmen assembled together do not assist one 
another, but merely work side by side. A portion of the 
instruments of labour acquires this social character before the 
labour-process itself does so. 
Economy in the use of the means of production has to be 
considered under two aspects. First, as cheapening commodi- 
ties, and thereby bringing about a fall in the value of labour- 
power. Secondly, as altering the ratio of the surplus-value to 
the total capital advanced, i.e., to the sum of the values of the 
constant and variable capital. The latter aspect will not be 
considered until we come to the third book, to which, with the 
object of treating them in their proper connexion, we also 
relegate many other points that relate to the pre
ent question. 
The march of our analysis compels this splitting up of the 
subject matter, a splitting up that is quite in keeping with the 
spirit of capitalist production. For since, in this mode of pro- 
duction, the workman finds the instruments of labour existing 
independently of him as another man's property, economy in 
their use appears, with regard to him, to be a distinct operation, 
one that does not concern him, and which, therefore, has no 
connextion with the methods by ,vhich his own personal pro- 
ductiveness is increased. 
When numerous labourers work together side by side, 
whether in one and the same process, or in different but con- 
nected processes, they are said to co-operate, or to work in co- 
operation. 1 
Just as the offensive power of a squadron of cavalry, or the 
defensive po,ver of a regiment of infantry, is essentially 
different from the sum of the offensive or defensive powers of 
the individual cavalry or infantry soldiers taken separately, so 
the sum total of the mechanical forces exerted by isolated 
workmen differs from the social force that is developed, when 
many hands take part simultaneously in one and the same un- 
divided operat.ion, such as raising a heavy ,veight, turning a 
winch) or ren10ving an obstacle. 2 In such cases the effect of 
1 II Concour" de forces." (Destutt de Tracy, 1. c., p. 78.) 
I "There numerous operations of so simple a kind as aot to admit a division 
into parts, which cannot be performed without the co-operation of many pairs of 
handa. I would instance the lifting of a large tree on to a wain
 . . . everything, in. 

3 1 6 

Caþitalist Production. 

the combined labour could either not be produced at all by 
isolated individual labour, or it could only be produced by a 
great expenditure of time, or on a very dwarfed scale. Not 
only have we here an increase in the productive po,ver of the 
individual, by means of co-operation, but the creation of a Dew 
power, namely, the collective power of masses. l 
Å part from the new power that arises from the fusion of 
many forces into one single force, mere social contact begets in 
most industries an emulation and a stimulation of the animal 
spirits that heighten the efficiency of each individual worknlan. 
Hence it is that a dozen persons working togeth6r will, in 
their collective working-day of 144 hours, produce far more 
than twelve isolated men each working 12 hours, or than one 
man who works twelve days in succession.
 The reason of 
this is that man is, if not as Aristotle contends, a political,S at 
all events a social animal. 
Although a number of men may be occupied together at the 
same time on the same, or the same kind of work, yet the 
labour of each, as a part of the collective labour, may corres- 
pond to a distinct phase of the labour-process, through all whcse 
phases, in consequence of co-operation, the subject of their 
labour passes with greater speed. For instance, if a dozen 
masons place themselves in a row, so as to pass stones from the 

short, which cannot be done unless a great many pairs of hands help each other in 
the same undivided employment and at the same time" (E. G. Wakefield: "A View of 
the Art of Colonisation." London: 1819, p. 168). 
1 " As one man cannot, and ten men must strain to lift a tun of weight, yet 100 
men can do it only by the strength of a finger of each of them. " (John BellerB: "Pro- 
posals for raising a Colledge of Industry." London, 1696, p. 21.) 
2 "There is also" (when the same Dumber of men are employed by one farmer on 
300 acres, instead of by ten farmers with 30 acres a piece) U an advantage in the pro- 
portion of I!ervants, which will not so easily be understood but by practical men; for it 
is natural to say, as 1 is to 4, so are 3: to 12: but this will not hold good in practice; 
for in harvest time and many other operations which require that kind of despatch 
by the throwing many hands together, the work is better and more expeditiously 
done: f. i. in harvest, 2 drivers, 2 loaders, 2 pitchers, 2 rakers, and the rest at the 
rick, or in the barn, will despatch double the work that the same number of hands 
would do if divided into different gangs on different farms." ("An Inquiry into the 
connection between the present Price of Provisions and the Size of Farms." By a 
Farmer. London, 1773, pp. 7, 8.) 
3 Strictly, Aristotle's definition is that man is by nature a town-citizen. This is 
quite as characteristic of ancient classical society as Franklin's definition of man, a. 
a tool-making animal, is characteristic of Yankeedom. 

C 0- Oþeralz.oll. 

3 1 7 

foot of a ladder to its summit, each of them does the sanle 
thing; nevertheless, their separate acts form connected parts of 
one total operation; they are particular phases, ,vhich mU8t 
be gone through by each stone; and the stones are thus 
caITied up quicker by the 24 hands of the row of men than 
they could be if each man ,vent separately up and do,vn the 
ladder ,vith his burden. l The object is carried over the san1C 
distance in a shorter time. Again, a combination of labour 
occurs whenever a building, for instance, is taken in band on 
different sides simultaneously; although here also the co- 
operating masons are doing the same, or the same kind of 
work. The 12 masons, in their collective working day of 144. 
hours, make much more progress \vith the building than one 
mason could make working for 12 days, or 144 hours. The 
reason is, that a body of Inen \vorking in concert has hands and 
eyes both before and behind, and is, to a certain degree, omni- 
present. The various parts of the work progress simul- 
In the above instances we have laid stress upon tbe point 
that the men do the same, or the same kind of work, because 
tbis, the most simple forln of labour in common, plays a great 
part in co-operation, even in its most fully developed 8tage. 
If the work be con1plicated, then the mere number of the men 
who co-operate allows of the various operations being appor- 
tioned to different hands, and, consequently, of being carried 
on simu]taneously. The tilne necessary for the completion of 
the ,vhole work is thereby shortened. l 

1 "On doit encore rernarquer que cette division partielle de travail peut se faire 
quand même les ouvriers Bont occupés d'une même besogne. Des maçons par exemple, 
occupés à faire pa.sser de mains en mains des briques à un échafaudage supérieur, font 
tous la m
me besognc, et pourtant il existe parmi eux une espêce de division de travail, 
qui consiste en ce que chacun d'eux fait passer 180 brique par un espace donné, et que 
tous ensemble la. font parvenir beaucoup plus promptemcnt á l'enùroit marqué qu'iIs 
ne Ie feraient Bi chacun d'eux portait sa. brique sép80rément jusqu 'à l'échafauùage 
supérieur." (F. Skarbek: "Théorie des richesses sociales." Paris, 1829. t. I. 
pp. 97, 98.) 

 "Est-il question d'exécuter un travail compliqué, plusieurs choses doivent être 
faites simultanément. L'un en fait une pendant que l'autre en fait une autre, e' 
tous contribuent à l'effet qu'un Beui homme n'aurait pu produire. L'un rame pendan' 
que l'8outre tient Iegouvernail, et qu'un troisième jette Ie filet ou harponne Ie poisson, 
et 180 pêche a. un Buccès impossible sans ce concours." (Destu tt de 'I'racy, 1. c.) 

3 18 

Caþitalist Productio1z. 

In many industries, there are critical periods, determined by 
the nature of the process, during ,,,hich certain definite results 
must be obtained. For instance, if a flock of sheep has to be 
shorn, or a field of wheat to be cut and harvested, the quantity 
and quality of the product depends on the ,vork being begun 
and ended within a certain time. In these cases, the time 
that ought to be taken by the process is prescribed, just as it 
is in herring fishing. A single person cannot carve a working 
day of more than, say 12 hours, out of the natural day, but 100 
men co-operating extend the working day to 1,200 hours. 
The shortness of the time allowed for the ,york is compensated 
for by the large mass of labour thrown upon the field of pro- 
duction at the decisive mOlnent. The completion of the task 
within the proper time depends on the simultaneous applica- 
tion of numerous combined ,vorking days; the amount of use- 
ful effect depends on the number of labourers; this number, 
however, is always smaller than the nurnber of isolated 
labourers required to do the same amount of work in the sanIe 
period.! It is owing to the absence of this kind of co-opera- 
tion that, in the western part of the United Sta.tes, quantities 
of corn, and in those parts of East India where English rule has 
destroyed the old communities, quantities of cotton, are yearly 
wasted. 2 
On the one hand, co-operation allows of the work being 
carried on over an extended space; it is consequently impera- 
tively called for in certain undertakings, such as draining, con- 
structing dykes, irrigation works, and the making of canals, 
l'oads and raihvays. On the other hand, while extending the 

1 "The doing of it (agricultural work) at the critical juncture is of so much the 
greater consequence." (" An Inquiry into the Connection between the Present Price," 
&c., p. 9.) "In agriculture, there is no more important factor than that of time." 
(Liebig: "Ueber Theorie und Praxis in der Landwirthschaft." 1856. p.23.) 
2 "The next evil is one which one would scarcely expect to find in a country which 
exports more labour than any other in the world, with the exception, perhaps, of 
China. and England-the impossibility of procuring a sufficient number of hands to 
clean the cotton. The consequence of this is that large quantities of the crop are left 
unpicked, while another portion is gathered from the ground when it has fallen, and 
is of course discoloured and partially rotted, so that for want of labour at the proper 
sea.son the c\ùtivator is actually forced to submit to the loss of a large part of that 
crop for which England is so anxiously looking." (Bengal Hurkaru. Bi-Monthly 
Overland Summary of News, 22nd July, 18Gl.) 

Co- Operation. 

3 1 9 

scale of production, it renders possible a. relative contraction of 
the arena. This contraction of arena simultaneous \vith, and 
arising from, extension of scale, whereby a. number of useless 
expenses are cut do,vn, is owing to the congloIueration of 
labourers, to the aggregation of various processes, and to the 
concentration of the D1eans of production. 1 
The combined working day produces, relatively to an equal 
sum of isolated working-days, a. greater quantity of use-values, 
and, consequently, diminishes the labour-time necessary for the 
production of a given useful effect. \Vhether the combined 
working-day, in a given case, acquires this increased produc- 
tive power, because it heightens the mechanical force of labour, 
or extends its sphere of action over a greater space, or con- 
tracts the field of production relatively to the scale of produc- 
tion, or at the critical mOlnent sets large masses of labour to 
,york, or excites emulation bet\veen individuals anù raises their 
animal spirits, or impresses on the similar operations carried on 
by a number of men the stamp of continuity and many-sided- 
ness, or performs simultaneously different operations, or econo- 
Inises the means of production by use in COllunon, or lends to 
individual labour the character of average sociallabour-,vhich- 
ever of these be the cause of the increase, the special produc- 
tive power of the combined working day is, unJer all circuln- 
stances, the social productive power of labour, or the productive 
power of social labour. This power is due to co-uperation 
itself. \Vhen the labourer co-operates systematically with 
others, he strips off the fetters of his individuality, and de- 
velopes the capabilities of his species. 1 
As a general rule, labourers cannot co-operate without being 
brought together: their assemblage in one place is a necessary 
1 In the progress of culture" all, and perhaps more than all, the capital and labour 
which once loosely occupied 500 acres, are now concentrated for the more complete 
tillage of 100." Although" relatively to the amount of capital and labour employed, 
space is concentrated, it is an enlarged sphere of production, as compared to the 
Iphere of production formerly occupied or worked upon by one single independent 
agent of production." (R. Jones: "An Essay on the Distribution of \Vealth," part I. 
On Rent. London, 1831, p. 191.) 
2 "La. forza di ciascuno uomo è minima, ma la riunione delle minime forze forma 
una forza tòtale maggiore anche della somma delle forze medesime fino a che Ie forze 
per essere riunite possono diminuere i1 tempo ed accrescere 10 spazio deJla loro azione. '1 
(G. R. Carli, Note to P. Verri,!. c. t., xv. p. 196.\ 

3 20 

Caþltalls rroaUClZonf. 

condition of their co-operation. Hence wage labourers cannot 
co-operate, unless they are employed simultaneously by the 
same capital, the same capitalist, and unless therefore their 
labour-powers are bought simultaneously by him. The total 
value of these labour-powers, or the amount of the wages of 
these labourers for a day, or a week, as the case may be, must 
be ready in the pocket of the capitalist, before the workluen 
are assembled for the process of production. The payment of 
300 workmen at once, though only for one day, requires a 
greater outlay of capital, than does the payment of a smaller 
number of men, week by week, during a whole year. Hence 
the number of the labourers that co-operate, or the scale of 
co-operation, depends, in the first instance, on the amount of 
capital that the individual capitalist can spare for the purchase 
of labour-power; in other words, on the extent to which a. 
single capitalist has command over the means of subsistence of 
a number of labourers. 
And as with the variable, so it is with the constant capital. 
For example, the outlay on raw material is 30 times as great, 
for the capitalist who employs 300 men, as it is for each of 
the 30 capitalists who employ 10 men. The value and quan- 
tity of the instruments of labour used in common do not, it is 
true, increase at the same rate as the number of workmen, but 
they do increase very considerably. Hence, concentration of 
large masses of the means of production in the hands of indi- 
vidual capitalists, is a material condition for the co-operation 
of wage-labourers, and the extent of the co-operation or the 
scale of production, depends on the extent of this concentratioI:. 
We saw in a former chapter, that a certain minimum amount 
of capital was necessary, in order that the number of labourers 
simultaneously employed, and, consequently, the amount of 
surplus-value produced, might suffice to liberate the employer 
himself from manual labour, to convert him from a small 
master into a capitalist, and thus formally to establish capita- 
list production. We now see that a certain minimum amount 
is a necessary condition for the conversion of numerous isolated 
and independent processes into one combined social process. 
We also saw that at first, the subjection of labour to capital 

C 0- 0 jerelt io Jl. 

3 2T 

was only a formal result of tbe fact, that the labourer, instead 
oi working for himself: works for and consequently under the 
capitalist. By the co-operation of numerous wage-labourers, 
the sway of capital developes into a requisite for carrying on 
the labour-process itself, int.o a real requi
ite of proùuction. 
That a capitalist should cornmand on the field of production, 
is now as indispensable as that a general should command on 
the field of battle. 
All cOInbined labour on a large scale requires, more or less, a 
directing authority, in order to secure the hanDonious working 
of the individual activities, and to perform the general func- 
tions that have their origin in the action of the cOlnbineù 
organisln, as distinguished from the action of its Rcparate 
organs. A single violin player is his own conductor; an 
orchestra requires a separate one. The work of directing, 
superintending, and adjusting, becomes one of the functions of 
capital, from the moment that the labour under the control of 
capital, becomes co-operative. Once a function of capital, it 
acquires special characteristics. 
The directing motive, the end and aim of capitalist produc- 
tion, is to extract the greatest possible amount of surp]us- 
value,1 and consequently to exploit labour-power to the greatest 
possible extent. As the number of the co-operating labourers 
increases, so too does their resistance to the domination of 
capital, and with it, the necessity for capital to overcome this. 
resist.ance by counter-pressure. The control exercised by the 
capitalist is not only a special function, due to the nature of 
the social labour-process, and peculiar to that process, but it is. 
at the same time, a function of the exploitation of a social 
labour-process, and is consequently rooted in the una voidable 
antagonism between the exploiter and the living and labouring 
raw material he exploits. 
Again, in proportion to the increasing mass of the means of 
production, now no longer the property of the labourer, but 
of the capitalist, the necessity increases for some effective 
control oyer the proper application of those means. t Moreover, 
1 "Profits. . . is the sole end of trade." (J. Vanderlint, 1. c., 1':11.) 
2 That Philistine paper, the Spectator, states that after the introduction of 
& sort of partnership between capitalii>t and workmen in the " 'Virework Company 


Caþitalist P1'oduction. 

the co-operation of ,vage labourers is entirely brought about 
Ly the capita] that clnploys them. Their union into ona 
single productive body and the establishment of a connexion 
betweon their individual functions, are Tllatters foreign and 
external to thern, are not their own act, but the act of tho 
capital that ùrings and keeps thorn together. IIenee the con.. 
nexion existing hetween their various Jabours appears to thelU, 
ideaUy, in the shape of a preconceived plan of the capitalist, 
and practically in the shape of the authority of the saIne capi- 
talist, in the shape of the po,verful ,vill of another, who sub- 
jects their activity to his aillis. If, then, the control of the 
capitalist iH in sub
tance t,vofold by reason of the t,vofold 
nature of the proceHs of production itseJf,-which, on the ono 
hanù, is a social process for producing use-values, on the 
other, a process for creating surplus-value-in form that con- 
trol is despotic. As co-opcration extends its scaJe, this despot- 
ism takes forms peculiar tu itsclf. J list as at first the capi- 
talist is rf'lieved fro In actual labour so suon as his capital has 
reached that IninirHuIIL aJllount with which capitalist pro- 
duction, as such, hegins, so now, ùe hands over the work of 
direct and constant supervision of the individual .worlonen, 
and groups of worknlen, to a special kinù of wage labourer. 
An industri3l army of worklûen, under th
 command of a 
capitali!St, requires, Eke a real arnlY, ofIi.cels (nu1nagcrs), and 
scrgeants (furmnen, overlookers), who, while the work is being 
donc, comlnand in the narne of the capitaliHt. The work of 
ion Lecomes their established and exclusive fUllction. 
'Vhen comparing the mode of pro(luction of isolated peasants 
ana artizans ,vith production by slave labour, the political 
economist counts this labour of superintendence among tIle 
faux frais of pruJuctiun. But, when considering the capital- 

of Manchcster," "thu first result was a sudden decrease in waste, the men not 
seeing why they should waste their own property any more than any other 
\nastcl's, arid waRte iii, perhaps, ncxt to bad dcLts, tho grcatest source of manufactur- 
.ug loss." '1'he f>amc paper finds that thc main defect in the Rochdalc co-opcrative 
experimcnts lH thit!: 0' They slwwcd that associationR of workmcn could man:\ge 
tihop!l, mills, and almost all forms of industry with l:IUCCCS8, anù thcy immcùia.tc1y 
iWl'rovell the condition of the men; but then thcy did not leave a clear place for 
masters." QueUe lwneur ! 
J l'rofcssul' CaÏ1ns. aftcr IJtatin
 that tho f:lupcrÍntCl1ÙCllCe of labour is n lcadin.; 

C 0- Oþerati01z. 

3 2 3 

ist mode of production, he, on the contrary) treats the ,york 
of control made necessary by the co-operative character of tho 
labour process as identical with the different work of control, 
necessitated by the capitalist character of that process and the 
antagonism of interests between capitalist and labourer.! It 
is not because he is a leader of industry that a lHan is a 
capitalist; on the contrary, he is a leader of industry because 
he is a capitalist. The leadership of industry is an attribute 
of capital) just as in feudal times the functions of general and 
judge ,vere attributes of landed property.2 
The labourer is the owner of his labour-power until he has 
done bargaining for its sale with the capitali
t; and he can 
sell no more than what he has-i.e.) his individual, iso- 
lated labour-power. This state of things is in no w'ay altered 
by the fact that the capitalist, instead of buying the labour... 
power of one man, buys that of 100, and enters into separate 
contracts ,vith 100 unconnected men instead of \\rÎth one. He 
is at liberty to set the 100 men to ,york, ,vithout letting them 
co-operate. He pays them the value of 100 independent 
labour-po,vers, but he does not pay for the cOlnbined. labour- 
power of the hundred. Being independent of each other, the 
labourers are isolated persons, ,vho enter into relations vlÌth 
the capitalist, but not with one another. This co-operation 
begins only ,vith the labour process, but they have then ceased 
to belong to themselves. On entering that process, they be- 
come incorporated with capital As co-operators, as lnembers 
of a ,vorking organism, they are but special modes of existence 
of capital. Hence, the productive po\ver developed by the 
labourer when working in co-operation, is the productiye 

feature of production by slaves in the Southern States of North America, continues: 
"The peasant proprietor (of the North), appropriating the whole produce of his toU, 
needs no other stimulus to exertion. Superintendence is here completely dispensed 
with." (Cairnes, I. c., pp. 48, 49.) 
I Sir James Steuart, a writer a1together remarkable for his quick eye for the 
characteristio social distinctions between different modes of production, says: "'V"hy 
do large undertakings in the mannfacturing way ruin private indu&try, but hy coming 
nearer to the simplicity of slaves! " (" Prin. of Pol. Eeon.," Lonùon, 17G7, v. 1., p. 
2 Auguste Comte and his school might therefore have shown that feudal lords are 
an eternal necessity in the same way that they have done in the CR!'Ie of the lordt 
()f capital. 

3 2 4 

Caþitalist ProductzOl1.. 

power of capital. This po,ver is developed gratuitously, \vhen.. 
ever the workmen are placed under given conditions, and it is 
capital that places them under such conditions. Because this 
power costs capital nothing, and because, on the otber band, 
the labourer himself does not develop it before his labour 
belongs to capital, it appears as a power with which capital 
is endowed by Nature-a productive power that is immanent. 
in capital. 
The colossal effects of simple co-operation are to be seen in 
the gigantic structures of the ancient Asiatics, Egyptians, 
Etruscans, &c. " It has happened in times past that these- 
Oriental States, after supplying the expenses of their civil a.nd 
military establishments, have found themselves in possession 
of a surplus ,vhich they could apply to works of magnificence 
or utility, and in the construct.ion of these their command over 
the hands and arms of almost the entire non-agricultural 
population has produced stupendous monuments which stilt 
indicate their power. The teeming valley of the Nile . . . 
produced food for a swarming non-agricultural population, and 
this food, belonging to the monarch and the priesthood, afforded 
the means of erecting the mighty monuments which filled the 
land. . . . In moving the colossal statues and va..c;;t masses of 
which the transport creates wonder, human labour almost 
alone, was prodigally used. . . . The number of the labourers and 
the concentration of their efforts sufficed. We see mighty coral 
reefs rising from the depths of the ocean into islands and finn 
land, yet each individual depositor is puny, weak, and con- 
temptible. The non-agricultural labourers of an Asiatic 
monarchy have little but their individual bodily exertions to 
bring to the task, but their number is their strength, and the 
po \ver of directing these masses gave rise to the palaces and 
temples, the pyramids, and the armies of gigantic statues of 
,vhich the remains astonish and perplex us. It is that con- 
finement of the revenues which feed them, to one or a few 
hands, which makes such undertakings possible." 1 This power 

1 R. Jones. "Text-book of Lectures," &c., pp. 77, 78. The ancient Assyrian, 
Egyptian, and other collections in London, and in other European capitals, make- 
us eye-witnesses of the model of carrying on that co-operative labour. 


3 2 5 

of Asiatic and Egyptian kings, Etruscan theocrats, &c., has in 
modern society been transferred to the capitalist, whether he 
be an isolated, or as in joint stock companies, a collective 
eapitalist. - 
Co-operation, such as we find it at the da,vn of human 
development, arnong races who live by the chase,t or, say, in 
the agriculture of Indian communities, is based, on the one 
hand, on ownership in common of the means of production, 
and on the other hand, on the fact, that in those cases, each 
individual has no more torn himself off from the navel- 
string of his tribe or community, than each bee has freed 
itself fron1 connexion with the hive. Such co-operation is 
distinguished from capitalistic co-operation by both of the 
above characteristics. The sporadic application of co-operation 
on a large scale in ancient times, in the middle ages, and in 
Inodern colonies, reposes on relations of dominion and servi- 
tude, principally on slavery. The capitalistic form, on the 
contrary, presupposes from first to last, the free wage labourer, 
\vho sells his labour-power to capital. Historically, ho\vever, 
this form is developed in opposition to peasant agriculture 
and to the carrying on of independent handicrafts ,vhether in 
guilds or not.! From the standpoint of these, capitalistic co- 
operation does not manifest itself as a particular historical 
form of co-operation, but co-operation itself appears to be a 
historical form peculiar to, and specifically distinguishing, the 
capitalist process of production. 
Just as the social productive power of labour that is de- 
veloped by co-operation, appears to be the productive power 
of capital, 80 co-operation itself, contrasted with the process of 
production carried on by isolated independent labourers, or 
even by small employers, appears to be a specific form of the 

1 Linguet is probably right, when in his" Theorie des Lois Civiles," he doolareø 
hunting to be the first form of co-operation, and man-hunting (wa.r) one of the earliest 
forms of hunting. 
2 Peasant agriculture on a. small øcale, and the carrying on of independont handi- 
crafts, which together form the baiis of the feuda.l mode of produotion, and after 
the dissolution of that sYitem, continue Bide by side with the capitalist mode, also 
form the economic foundation of the classica.l communities at their best, after the 
primitive form of ownership of land in coml
on had dilappeared, and before slavery 
had seized on production in earnest. . 

3 26 

Caþitalist Production. 

capitalist process of production. It is the first change experi.. 
enced by the actual labour-process, when subjected to capi tal 
This change takes place spontaneously. The simultaneous 
employment of a large number of wage-labourers, in one and 
the same process, \vhich is a necessary condition of this change
also forms the starting point of capitalist production. This 
point coincides with the birth of capital itself. If then, on the 
one hand, the capitalist mode of production presents itself to 
us historically, as a necessary condition to the transformation 
of the labour-process into a social process, so, on the other hand, 
this social form of the labour-process presents itself, as a method 
employed by capital for the more profitable exploitation of 
labour, by increasing that labour's productiveness. 
In the elementary form, under which we have hitherto 
viewed it, co-operation is a necessary concomitant of all pro- 
duction on a large scale, but it does not, in itself, represent 
a fixed form characteristic of a particular epoch in the develop- 
ment of the capitalist mode of production. At the most it 
appears to do so, and that only approximately, in the handi- 
craft-like beginnings of manufacture,1 and in that kind of 
agriculture on a large scale, which corresponds to the epoch of 
manufacture, and is distinguished from peasant agriculture, 
mainly by the number of the labourers simult.aneously elll- 
ployed, and by the mass of the means of production COD.. 
centrated for their use. Simple co-operation is ahvays tho 
prevailing form, in those branches of production in \vhich 
capital operates on a large scale, and division of labour and 
n1achinery play but a subordinate part. 
Co-operation ever constitutes the fundamental form of the 
capitalist mode of production; nevertheless, the elelnentary 
form of co-operation continues to subsist as a particular form 
of capitalist production side by side with the more developed 
forn1s of that mode of production. 

"""'11ether the united skill, industry, and emulation of many together on the 
same work be not the way to advance it? And whether it had been otherwise 
possible for England, to have carried on her "\V oollen Manufacture to 80 great a per- 
fection ?" (Berkeley. "The Querist." London, 1750, p. 56, par. 521.) 

Dz'visZ01Z of Labour and MaJtufacture. 3 2 7 




THAT co-operation which is based on division of labour, assumes 
its typical form in manufacture, and is the prevalent character- 
istic form of the capitalist process of production throughout 
the Inanufacturing period properly so called. That period, 
roughly speaking, extends from the middle of the IGth to the 
l:lst third of the 18th century. 

Ianufacture takes its riRe in two ways:- 
(1.) By the assemblage, in one \vorkshop under the control 
of a single capitalist, of labourers belonging to various inùe- 
pendent handicrafts, but through whose hands a given article 
]nust pass on its way to completion. A carriage, for example, 
""Tas formerly the product of the labour of a great number of inde- 
pendent artificers, such as ,vheelwrights, harness-makers, tailors, 
locksmi ths, u pholsterer8, turners, fringe-makers, glaziers, painters, 
polishers, gilders, &c. In the manufacture of carriages, how.. 
ever, all these different artificers are assembled in one build.. 
ing, ,vhere they work into one another's hands. It is true that 
a carriage cannot be gilt before it has been made. But if a 
number of carriages are being made simultaneously, some may 
be in the hands of the gilders while others are going through an 
earlier process. So far, we are still in the domain of simple 
co-operation, which finds its materials ready to hand in the 
shape of men and things. But very soon an important change 
takes place. The tailor, the locksmith, and the other artificers, 
being now exclusively occupied in carriage-nlaking, each gradu- 
ally loses, through want of practice, the ability to carryon, to 
iis full extent, his old handicraft. But, on the other hand, his 
activity no,v confined in one groove, assun1es the form best 
adapted to the narrowed sphere of action. At first, carriage 
Inanufacture is a combination of various independent handi- 
crafts. By degrees, it becomes the splitting up of carriage 

3 28 

Caþz/alist Production. 

lnaking into its various detail processes, each of which 
crystallizes into the exclusive function of a particular work- 
man, the manufacture, as a whole, being carried on by the men 
in conjunction. In the same way, cloth manufacture, as also a 
,vhole series of other manufactures, arose by combining 
different handicrafts together under the control of a single 
capitalist. l 
(2.) l\lanufacture also arises in a way exactly the reverse of 
this-nanlely, by one capitalist employing simultaneously in 
one workshop a number of artificers, who all do the same, or 
the same kind of \vork, such as making paper, type, or neeùles. 
This is co-operation in its most elementary form. Each of 
these artificers (with the help, perhaps, of one or two appren- 
tices), makes the entire comn10dity, and he consequently 
performs in succession all tbe operations necessary for its 
production. He still works in his old bandicraft-1ike way. 
But very soon external circumstances cause a different use to 
be lllade of the concentration of the ,vorkmen on one spot, and 
of the simuitaneousness of their work. An increased quantity 
of the article has perhaps to be delivered within a given time. 
The vV"ork is therefore re-distributed. Instead of each man 
being allo\ved to perform all the various operations in succes- 
sion, these operations are changed into disconnected, isolated 
ones, carried on side by side; each is assigned to a different 
artificer, and the whole of them together are performed simul- 
taneously by the co-operating workmen. This accidental 
repartition gets repeated, developes advantages of its own, and 
gradually ossifies into a systematic division of labour. The 

1 To give a. more modern insta.nce: The silk spinning and weaving of Lyons and 
Nîmes " est toute patriarcale j elle emploie beaucoup de femmes et d'enfants, mais 
sans les épuiser ni les corrompre j elle les laisse dans leur belles vallées de la. DrÔme, 
du Yar, de I'Isère, de Vaucluse, pour y êlever des vers et dêvider leurs oocons; jamais 
eUe n'entre dans une vêritable fabrique. Pour ètre aussi bien observé . . . Ie principe 
de la division du travail s'y revêt d'un caractère spécial. II y a bien des dévideuses, 
,les moulineurs, des teinturiers, des encolleurs, puis des tisserands; mais ils ne sont pas 
réunis dans un même établissement, ne dépendent pas d'un même maitre; tous ils 
sont indépendants." (A. TIlanqui: "Cours d'Econ. Industrielle." Recueilli par A. 
Blaise. Paris, 1838-39, pp. 79). Since Blanqui wrote this, the various independent 
labourers have, to some exten
, been united in factories. [And since Marx wrote 
the above, the powerloom has invaded these factories, and is now-1886-rapid1l 
superseding the handloom. ED.] 

DlVisio1Z of Labour atld lIfa111
factu1'e. 329 

-comlnodity, from being the individual product of an inde- 
pendent artificer, becomes the social product of a union of 
artificers, each of whom perfonns one, and only one, of the 
constituent partial operations. rrhe same operations which, in 
the case of a papermaker belonging to a German Guild, merged 
one into the other as the succeHsive acts of one artificer, becalne 
in the Dutch paper manufacture so many partial operations 
carried on side by side by numerous co-operating labourers. 
The needlemaker of the N urem berg Guild ,vas the corner- 
stone on \vhich the English needle manufacture was raised. 
But ,vhile in N urem berg that single artificer performed a series 
of perhaps 20 operations one after another, in England it was 
not long before there were 20 needlenlakers siùe by side, each 
perforlning one ålone of those 20 operations; and in conse- 
quence of .further experience, each of those 20 operations was 
again split up, isolated, and made the exclusive function of a 
separate ,vorlonan. 
The mode in which manufacture arises, its gro\vth out of 
handicrafts, is therefore twofold. On the one hand, it arises 
from the union of various independent handicrafts, which beeolne 
stripped of their independence and specialisèd to such an extent 
as to be reduced to mere supplementary partial processes in the 
production of one particular commodíty. On the other hand, 
it arises from the co-operation of artificers of one handicraft; 
it splits up that particular handicraft into its various detail 
operations, i3olating, and making these operations independent 
of one another up to the point ,vhere each becomes the exclusi va 
function of a particular labourer. On the one hand, therefore, 
manufacture either introduces division of labour into a process 
,')f production, or further developes that division; on the other 
hand, it unites together handicrafts that were forlnerly separate. 
But whatever may have been its particular starting point, its 
final form is invariably the same-a productive mechanism 
,vhose parts are hUlnan beings. 
For a proper understanding of the division of labour in 
manufacture, it is essential that the following points be firmly 
grasped. First, the decomposition of a process of production 
jnto its various successive steps coincides, here, strictly ,vith 

33 0 

Caþitalist Production. 

the resolution of a handicraft into its successive manual 
operations. Whether complex or simple, each operation hag 
to be done by hand, retains the character of a handicraft, ant! 
is therefore dependent on the strength, skill, quickness, and 
sureness, of the individual workman in handling his tools. 
The handicraft continues to be the basis. This narrow 
technical basis excludes a really scientific analysis of any 
definite process of industrial production, since it is still a con- 
dition that each detail process gone through by the product 
must be capable of being done by hand and of forming, in itS' 
way, a separate handicraft. It is just because handicraft skill 
continues, in this way, to be the foundation of the' process of 
production, that each workman becomes exclusively assigned 
to a partial function, and that for the rest of his life, his labour- 
power is turned into the organ of this detail function. 
Secondly, this division of labour is a particular sort of co- 
operation, and many of its disadvantages sprIng from the 
general character of co-operation, and not from this particular 
form of it. 


If we now go more into detail, it is, in the first place, clear 
that a labourer who an his life performs one and the same 
simple operation, converts his whole body into the automatic, 
specialised implement of that operation. Consequently, he 
takes less time in doing it, than the artificer who performs a 
whole series of operations in succession. But the collective 
labourer, who constitutes the living mechanism of manufacture, 
is made up solely of such specialised detail labourers. Hence
in comparison with the independent handicraft, more is pro- 
duced in a given time, or the productive power of labour is 
increased. 1 
Ioreover, when once this fractional work is es- 
tablished as the exclusive function of one person, the lllethods 
it employs becorne perfected. The workman's continueJ 
1 "The more any manufacture of much variety shall be distributed and assigned 
to different artists, the same must needs be better done and with greater expedition, 
with less loss of time and labour." (" The Advantages of the East India l"rade,': 
Lond., 1720. p. 71.) 

DZ'VZSz"OIZ oj Labour and lIfa11'1ifacture. 33 I 

repetition of the same simple act, and the concentration of his 
attention on it, teach him by experience ho,v to attain the 
desired effect with the minimum of exertion. But since thero 
are always several generations of labourers living at one time, 
and working together at the manufacture of a given article, 
the technical skill, the tricks of the trade thus acquired, 
become established, and are accumulated and handed down. 1 
Manufacture, in fact, produces t.he skill of the detail labourer, 
by reproducing, and systematically driving to an extrenle 
within the workshop, the naturally developed differentiation of 
trades, ,vhich it found ready to hand in society at large. On 
the other hand, the conversion of fractional work into the life- 
calling of one man, corresponds to the tendency shown by 
earlier societies, to make trades hereditary; either to petrify 
them into castes, or whenever definite historical conditions 
beget in the individual a tendency to vary in a manner incom- 
patible with the nature of castes, to ossify them into guilds. 
Castes and guilds arise from the action of the same natural 
law, that regulates the differentiation of plants and animals 
into species and varieties, except that, when a certain degree 
of development has been reached, the heredity of castes and 
the exclusiveness of guilds are ordained as a la,v of society. 
(( The muslins of Dakka in fineness, the calicoes and other piece 
goods of Coromandel in brilliant and durable colours, have 
never been surpassed. Yet they are produced ,vithout capital, 
machinery, division of laboul', or any of those means which 
give such facilities to the manufacturing interest of Europe. 
The ,veaver iB merely a detached individual, working a web 

1 .. Easy labour is transmitted skill." (Th. Hodgskin, 1. c. p. 125). 
2 .. The arts also have . . . in Egypt reached the requisi te degree of perfection. 
For it is the only country where artificers may not in any way meddle with the 
a.ffairs of ar;other class of citizens, but must follow that calling alone which by law is 
hereditary in their clan. . . .. In other countries it is found that tradesman divide 
their attention between too many objects. At one time they try agriclùture, at 
another they take to commerce, at another they busy themselves with two or three 
occupations at once. In free countries, they mostly frequent the assemblies of the 
people. . . .. In Egypt, on the contrary, every artificer is severely punished if he 
meddles with affairs of State, or carries on several trades at once. Thus there is 
nothing to disturb their application to their calling. . . . :Moreover, since they in- 
herit from their forefathers numerous rules, they are eager to discover fresh 
advantages." (Diodorus Siculus: Bibl. Hist. 1. 1. c. 74.) 

33 2 

Caþitalist Prodltctz.01Z. 

when ordered of a customer, and with a loom of the rudest 
construction, consisting sometimes of a few branches or bars of 
\vood, put roughly together. There is even no expedient for 
rolling up the \varp; the loom must therefore be kept 
stretched to its full length, and becomes so inconveniently 
large, that it cannot be contained within the hut of the 
manufacturer, who is therefore compelled to ply his trade in 
the open air, \vhere it is interrupted by every vicissitude of 
the \veather."l It is only the special skill accumulated froIn 
generation to generation, and transmitted from father to son, 
that gives to the Hindoo, as it does to the spider, this pro- 
ficiency. And yet the work of such a Hindoo weaver is very 
conlplicated, compared with that of a manufacturing labourer. 
An artificer, who performs one after another the various 
fractional operations in the production of a finished article. 
must at one time change his place, at another his tools. The 
transition from one operation to another interrupts the flo\v 
of his labour, and creates, so to say, gaps in his \vorking day. 
These gaps close up so soon as he is tied to one and the saIne 
operation all day long; they vanish in proportion as the 
changes in his work diminish. The resul ting increased pro- 
ductive powrer is o\ving either to an increased expenditure 
of labour-power in a given time-i.e., to increased intensity 
of labour-or to a decrease in the amount of labour-power un- 
productively consumed. The extra expenditure of po\yer, 
demanded by every transition from rest to motion, is Inade up 
for by prolonging the duration of the norn1al velocity when 
once acquired. On the other hand, constant labour of one 
uniform kind disturbs the intensity and flow of a man's animal 
spirits, which find recreation and delight in mere change of 
The productiveness of labour depends not only on the pro- 
ficiency of the worlnnan, but on the perfection of his tools. 
Tools of the same kind, such as knives, driHs, gimlets, halll- 
mers, &c., may be employed in different processes; and the 

1 Historical and descriptive account of Brit. Inùia, &c., by Hugh Murray and James 
Wilson, &c., Edinburgh 183
. v. II. p. 449. The Inùian loom is upright, i.e., the 
t'o"arp if'; stretched vertically. 

DivisiOlt of Labour a1ul llIallufacture. 333 

same tool may :serve various purposes in a single process. But 
so soon as the different operations of a labour-process are dis- 
connected the one from the other, and each fractional operation 
acquires in the hands of the detail labourer a suitable and 
peculiar form, alterations become necessary in the Ï1npleIuents 
that previously .;erved more than one purpose. The direction 
taken by this change is determined by the difficulties ex- 
perienced in consequence of the unchanged form of the imple- 
Ianufacture is characterizeù by the differentiation of 
the instruments of labour-a differentiation \vhereby imple- 
mentg of a given sort acquire fixed shapes, adapted to each 
particular application, and by the specialisation of those in- 
struments, giving to each special implement its full play only 
in the hands of a specific detail labourer. In Birminghaln 
alone 500 varieties of hanlmers are produced, and not only is 
each adapted to one particular process, but several vari9ties 
often serve exclusively for the different operations in one and 
the same process. The manufacturing period simplifies. iIn- 
proves, and multiplies the implements of labour, by adapting 
them to the exclusively special functions of each detail la- 
bourer. 1 It thus creates at the same time one of the material 
conditions for the existence of Inachinery, which consists of a 
combination of simple instruments. 
The detail labourer and his implements are the simplegt 
elements of manufacture. Let us no\v turn to its aspect as a 


The organisation of manufacture has two fundamental formB
which, in 
pite of occasional blending, are essentially different 

1 Darwin in his epoch-making work on the origin of species, remarks, with reference 
to the natural orga.ns of plants and animals, "So long as one and the same organ has 
different kinds of work to perform, a ground for its changeability may possibly be 
found in thi8, that natural selection preserves or suppresses each small variation of 
form less carefully than if that organ were destined for one special purpose alone. 
Thus, knives that are adapted to cut all sorts of things, IDay, on the whole, be of one 
shape j but an implement destinoo to be useù exclusively in one way must have a 
different shape for every difiuent U

. ,. 


Caþitallst Production. 

in kind, and, moreover, play very distinct parts in the Bub- 
sequent transformation of manufacture into modern industry 
carried on by machinery. This double character arises from 
the nature of the article produced. This article either results 
from the mere mechanical fitting together of partial products 
made independently, or owes its compJeted shape to a series of 
connected processes and manipulations. 
A locomotive, for instance, consists of more than 5000 inde- 
pendent parts. I t cannot, however, serve as an example of 
the first kind of genuine manufacture, for it is a structure 
produced by modern mechanical industry. But a watch can; 
and "Tilliam Petty used it to illustrate the division of labour 
in manufacture. :Formerly the individual work of a N urem- 
berg artificer, the watch has been transformed into the social 
product of an immense number of detail labourers, such as 
mainspring makers, dial makers, spiral spring makers, jewelled 
110le makers, ruby lever ulakers, hand makers, case makers, 
screw makers, gilders, with numerous sub-divisions, such as 
wheel makers (brass and steel separate), pin makers, movement 
makers, acheveur de pignon (fixes the wheels on the axles, 
polishes the facets, &c.), pivot makers, planteur de finissage 
(puts the wheels and springs in the works), finisseur de barillet 
(cuts teeth in the ,vheels, ll1akes the holes of the right size, 
&c.), escapement makers, cylinder makers for cylinder escape- 
ments, escapement wheel makers, balance ,vheel makers, ra- 
quette makers (apparatus for regulating the watch), the 
planteur d'échappement (escapement maker proper); then the 
repasseur de barillet (finishes the box for the spring, &c.), 
steel polishers, wheel polishers, scre'v polishers, figure painters, 
dial enamellers (melt the enamel on the copper), fabricant de 
pendants (makes the ring by ,vhich the case is hung), finisseur 
de charnière (puts the brass hinge in the cover, &c.), faiseur de 
secret (puts in the springs that open the case), graveur, ciseleur, 
polisseur de boîte, &c., &c., and last of all the repasseur, who 
fits together the whole watch and hands it over in a going 
Istate. Only a few parts of the watch pass through several 
hands; and all these Inembra disjecta come together for the 
first time in the hand that binds them into one mechanical 

Divisz(J1Z of Labour and lIfanzifacture. 335 

whole. This external relation bet\Veell the finished product, 
alid its various and diverse elements lllakes it, as ,veIl in this 
case as in the case of all sin1Ílar finisbed articles, a Dlatter of 
chance whether the detail labourers are brought together in 
one workshop or not. The detail operations may further be 
carried on like so many independent handicrafts, as they are 
in the Cantons of Vaud and N eufchâtel ; ,vhile in Geneva there 
exist large watch manufactories where the detail labourers 
directly co-operate under the control of a single capitalist. 
And even in the latter case the dial, the springs, an<l the case, 
are seldom made in the factory itself. To carryon the trade 
as a Inanufacture, ,vith concent.ration of worklll<:-'n, is, in the 
,vatch trade, profitable only under exceptional conditions, be- 
cause competition is greater between the labourers ,vho desire 
to work at home, and because the splitting up of the work 
into a number of heterogeneous processes, permits but little 
use of the instruments of labour in COIDlllon, and the capitalist, 
by scattering the ,vork, saves the outlay on ,vorkshops, &c. 1 
N evel'theless the position of this detail labourer \vho, though 
he \vorks at home, does so for a capitalist (manufacturer, 
étaLlisseur), is very different from that of the independent 
artificer, \vho works for his o,vn customers.' 
The second kind of lllanufacture, its perfected form, pro- 
<Ìuces articles that go through connected phases of develop- 

1 In the 1854 Geneva produced 80,000 watches, which is not one-fifth of the 
production in the Canton of Neufchâtel. La Chaux-de-Fond alone, which we may 
look upon as a huge watch manufactory, produces yearly twice as many as Geneva. 
From 1850-61 Geneva produced 730,000 watches. See" Report from Geneva on the 
'Vatch Trade" in " Reports by H. 1\1. 's Secretaries of Embassy and Legation on the 
]1anufactures, Commerce, &c., No.6, 1863." The want of connexion alone, between 
the processes into which the production of articles that merely consist of parts fitted 
together is split up, makes it very difficult to convert such a manufacture into 8r 
branch of modern industry carried on by machinery; but in the case of a watch there 
are two other impediments in addition, the minuteness and delicacy of its parts, and 
its character as an article of luxury. Hence their variety, which is such, that in the 
best London houses scarcely a dozen watches are made alike in the course of a year. 
The watch manufactory of Messrs. Vacberon & Constantin, in which machinery has 
been employed with success, produces at the most three or four different varieties of 
Æize and form. 
2 In watchmaking, that classical example of heterogeneous manufacture, we may 
fStudy with great accuracy the above mentioned differentiation and specialisation of 
the instruments of labour ca.used by the sub-division of handicrafts. 

33 6 

Caþl/alz'st Productz.on. 

ment, through a series of processes step by step, like the WITO' 
in the manufacture of needles, which passes through the hands 
of 72 and sometimes even 92 different detail workmen. 
In so far as such a manufacture, when first started, com- 
bines scattered handicrafts, it lessens the space by which the 
various phases of production are separated from each other. 
The time taken in passing from one stage to another is 
shortened, so is the labour that effectuates this passage. l In 
comparison with a handicraft, productive power is gained, and 
this gain is o\ving to the general co-operative character of 
manufacture. On the other hand, division of labour, which is 
the distinguishing principle of manufacture, requires the isola- 
tion of the various stages of production and their independ- 
ence of each other. The establishment and lllaintenance of a 
connexion between the isolated functions necessitates the in- 
cessant transport of the article from one hand to another, and 
from one process to another. From the standpoint cf. modern 
mechanical industry, this necessity stands forih as a character- 
istic and costly disadvantage, and one that is immanent in thö 
principle of manufacture. s 
If we confiJ?e our attention to some particular lot of ra,v 
materials, of rags, for instance, in paper manufacture, or of 
wire in needle manufacture, we perceive that it p2sses in 
succession through a series of stages in the hands of the 
various detail workmen until completion. On the other hand, 
if we look at the workshop as a whole, we see the raw material 
in all the stages of its producti.on at the same time. The col- 
lecti ve labourer, with one set of his many hands armed with 
one kind of tools, draws the wire, with another set, armetl 
with different tools, he, at the same time, straightens it, with 
another, he cuts it, with another, points it, and so on. The 
different detail processes, which were successive in time, have 
become simultaneous, go on side by side in space. Hence, 

1 (( In 10 close a. cohabitation of the people, the carriage must needs be less.>> (" The 
Advantages of the East India Trade," p. 106.) 

 "The isola.tion of the different stages of manufacture, consequent upon the em- 
ployment of manual labour, adds immensely to the cost of production, the 10s8 
mainly arising from the mere removals from one process to another. J' (" The Industry 
of Nations." Lond., 1855. Part II., p. 200.) 

Divisioll of Labour and .Jfanzifacture. 337 

production of a greater quantum of finished commodities in a 
given tittle. 1 This simultaneity, it is true, is due to the 
general co-operative form of the process as a whole; but 

lanufacture not only finds the conditions for co-operation 
ready to hand, it also, to some extent, creates them by the 
sub-diviRion of handicraft labour. On the other hand, it 
accomplishes this social organisation of the labour-process only 
by riveting each labourer to a single fractional detail. 
Since the fractional product of each detail labourer is, at the 
same tillie, only a particular stage in the development of one 
and the same finished article, each labourer, or each group of 
labourers, prepares the raw material for another labourer or 
group. The result of the labour of the one is the starting 
point for the labour of the other. The ODe workman therefore 
gives occupation directly to th
 other. The labour-time 
necessary in eacL partial process, for attaining the desired 
effect, is learnt by experience j and the mechanism of 
facture, as a whole, is based on the assumption that a given 
result will be obtained in a given time. It is only on this 
assumption that the various supplen1entary labour-proce
can proceed uninterruptedly, simultaneously, RIJ.d side by side. 
It is clear that this direct dependence of the operations, and 
therefore of the labourers, on each other, compels each one of 
them to spend on bis work no more than the necessary time, 
and thus a continuity, uniformity, regularity, order,' anù even 
intensity of labour, of quite a different kind, is begotten than 
is to be found in an independent handicraft or even in simple 
co-operation. The rule, that the labour-time expended on a 
commodity should not exceed that which is socially nece
for its production, appears, in the production of commodities 
generally, to be established by the mere effect of competition; 

1 cc It (the division of labour) produces also an economy of time by separating the 
work into its different branches, all of which mar be carried on into execution at the 
Bame moment. . . By carrying on all the different processes at once, which an in. 
dividual must bave executed separately, it becomes possible to produce a multitudo 
of pins completely finished in the same time as a. single pin might have been either 
cut or pointed. J) (Dugald Stewart, 1. c., p. 319.) 
t "The more variety of artists to every manufacture . . . the greater the oreer 
and regularity of every work, the same must needs be done in les8 time, the labour 
I must be less." (" The Ad van tages," &c., p. 68. \ 

33 8 

Caþitalist Productzon. 

Hince, to express ourselves superficially, each single producer 
is obliged to sell his commodity at its market price. In 
Manufacture, on the contrary, the turning out of a giyen 
quantum of proòuct in a given time is a technical law of the 
process of production itself.l 
Different operations take, however, unequal periods, and yield 
therefore, in equal times unequal quantities of frartional pro- 
ducts. If, therefore, the same labourer has, day after day, to 
perform the same operation, there must be a different nUll1ber 
of labourers for each operation; for instance, in type manufac- 
ture, there are four founders and two breakers to one rubber: 
the founder casts 2,000 type an hour, the breaker brea.ks up 
4,000, and the rubber polishes 8,000. Here we have again the 
principle of co-operation in its simplest form, the simultaneous 
employment of many doing the same thing; only now, this 
principle is the expression of an organic relation. The division 
of labour, as carried out in Manufacture, not only simplifies and 
multiplies the qualitatively different parts of the social collec- 
tive labourer, but also creates a fixed mathematical relation or 
ratio which regulates the quantitative ex.tent of those parts- 
i.e., the relative number of labourers, or the relative size of the 
group of labourers, for each detail operation. It developes, 
along with the qualitative sub-division of the social labour 
process, a quantitative rule and proportionality for that 
When once the most fitting proportion has been experi- 
mentally established for the nurnbers of the detail labourers in 
the various groups when producing on a given scale, that scale 
can be extended only by employing a multiple of each particu- 
lar group.2 There is this to boot, that the same individual can 

] Nevertheless, the manufacturing system, in maLY branches of industry, attains 
this result but very imperfectly, because it knows not how to control with certainty 
the general chemical and physical conditions of the process of production. 
S "'Then (from the peculiar nature of the produce of each manufactory), the num- 
ber of processes into which it is most advantageous to divide it is ascertained, as well 
as the number of individuals to be employed, then all other manufactories which do 
not employ a direct multiple of this number will produce the article at a greater cost. 
o . . Hence arises one of the causes of the great size of manufacturing establish- 
ments. " (C. Babbage. "On the Economy of Machinery," 1st ed. London) 1832. 
Ch. xxi., p. 172-173.) 

Divz'si01t of Labour a12d iJIa12zifacture. 339 

do certain kinds of work just as ,veIl on a large as on a 
Bcale; for instance, the labour of superintendence, the 
of the fractional product from one stage to the next, &c. The 
isolation of such functions, their allotment to a particular 
labourer, does not become advantageous till after an increase in 
the number of labourers employed; but this increase must 
affect every group proportionally. 
The isolated group of labourers to whom any particular 
detail function is assigned, is made up of h01l1ogeneuus ele- 
ments, and is one of the constituent parts of the total 
mechanism. In many manufactures, ho,vever, the group itself 
is an organised body of labour, the total mechanism being a 
repetition or multiplication of these elementary organisms. 
Take, for inRt.ance, the manufacture of g]ass bottles. It may 
be resolved into three essentially different stages. First, the 
preliminary stage, consisting of the preparation of the com- 
ponents of the glass, mixing the sand and lime, &c., and melting 
them into a fluid mass of glass. 1 Various detail labourers are 
employed in this first stage, as also in the final one of removing 
the bottles from the drying furnace, sorting and packing theIn, 
&c. In the middle, bet,veen these two stages, COInes the glass 
melting proper, the manipulation of the fluid mass. At each 
mouth of the furnace, there works a group, called "the hole," 
consisting of one bottlemaker or finisher, one blo\ver, one 
gatherer, one putter-up or whetter-oH: and one taker-in. These 
five detail workers are so many special organs of a single 
working organism that acts only as a whole, and therefore can 
()perate only by the direct co-operation of the \vhole five. The 
whole body is paralysed if but one of its members be wanting. 
But a glass furnace has several openings (in England from 4 to 
6), each of which contains an earthenware melting-pot full of 
molten glass, and employs a similar five-membered group of 
workers. The organisation of each group is based on division 
of labour, but the bond between the different groups is simple 
co-operation, which, by using in common one of the means of 

1 In England, the melting-furnace is distin.ct from the glass-furnace in which the 
glass is manipulated. In .Belgium, one and the same furnace serves for both 

34 0 

Caþz"talist Production. 

production, the furnace, causes it to be n10re economically con- 
sumed. Such a furnace, with its 4-6 groups, constitutes a 
glass house; and' a glass manufactory comprises a number of 
such glass houses, together with the apparatus and workmen 
l'cquisite for the preparatory and final stages. 
FinalljT, just as l\Ianufacture arises in part from the combina- 
tion of various handicrafts, so, too, it developes into a combina- 
tion of various manufactures. The larger English glass 
manufacturers, for instance, make their own earthenware 
melting-pots, because, on the quality of these depends, to a 
great extent, the success or failure of the process. The manu- 
facture of one of the means of production is here united with 
that of the product. On the other hand, the manufacture of 
the product may be united with other manufactures, of which 
that product is the raw material, or with the products of which 
it is itself subsequently mixed. Thus, we :find the manufacture 
of flint glass combined with that of glass cutting and brass 
founding; the latter for the metal settings of various articles 
of glass. The various manufactures so combined form more or 
less separate departments of a larger manufacture, but are at 
the same time independent processes, each ,vith its own 
division of labour. In spite of the many advantages offered by 
this combination of manufactures, it never grows into a complete 
technical system on its own foundation. That happens only 
on its transformation into an industry carried on by machinery. 
Early in the manufacturing period, the principle of lessening 
the necessary labour-time in the production of commodities,1 
was accepted and formulated: and the use of machines, especi- 
ally for certain simple :first processes that have to be conducted 
on a very large scale, and with the application of great force, 
sprang up here and there. Thus, at an early period in paper 
manufacture, the tearing up of the rags was done by paper- 
mills; and in metal works, the pounding of the ores was 
effected by stamping mills.' The Roman Empire had handed 

1 This can be seen from W. Petty, John Bellers, Andrew Yarranton, "The Ad. 
vantages of the East India Trade," and J. Vanderlint, not to mention others. 
2 Towa.rds the end of the 16th century, mortars and sieves were still used in
for pounding and washing ores. 

DivlS'iolZ of Labour a1zd lI1'anufacture. 34 I 

.(lown the elementary form of all machinery in the water- 
w hee!.1 
The handicraft period bequeathed to us thE! great inventions 
of the compass, of gunpowder, of type-printing, and of the 
automatic clock. But, on the ,vhole, Inachinery played that 
subordinate part which Adam Smith assigns to it in cOlnpari- 
son ,vith division of labour. s The sporadic use of machinery 
in the 17th century was of the greatest ilnportance, because it 
supplied the great nlathematicians of that time with a practical 
basis and stimulant to the creation of the science of mechanics. 
'fhe collective labourer, formed by the combination of a 
number of detail labourers, is the machinery specially char- 
acteristic of the n1anufacturing period. The various operations 
that are perfonued in turns by the producer of a commodity, 
and coalesce one with another during the progress of proùuc- 
tion, lay claim to him in various ways. In one operation he 
must exert more strength, in another more skill, in another 
more attention; and the same individual does not possess all 
these qualities in an equal degree. After Manufacture haR 
once separated, made independent, and isolRted the various 
operations, the labourers are divided, classified, and grouped 
according to their predominating qualities. If their natural 
endown1ents are, on the one hand, the foundation on which 
the division of labour is built up, on the other hand, Manu- 
facture, once introduced, developes in them new powers that 
are by nature fitted only for limited and special functions. 
The collective labourer now possesses, in an equal degree of 
1 The whole history of the development of machinery can be traced in the history 
of the corn mill. The factory in England is still a "mill." In German technologiafll 
works of the first decade of this century, the term" müWe" is still found in use, not 
only for all machinery driven by the forces of Nature, but also for all manufacture& 
where apparatus in the nature of machinery is applied. 
2 As will be seen more in detail in the fourth book of this work, Adam Smith has 
not established a single new proposition relating to division of labour. What, how- 
.ever, characterises him as the political economist par excp,llence of the period of 
Nfanufacture, is the stress be lays on division of labour. The subordinate part which 
be assigns to machinery occasion in the early days of modern mechanical in- 
dustry to the polemic of Lauderdal.-, and, a.t a later period, to that of Ure. A. Smith 
also confounds differentiation of the instruments of labour, in which the detail 
labourers themselves took an active part, with the invention of machinery; in this 
latter, it is not the workmen in manufactories, but learned men, handicraftsmen, 
.and even peasants (Brindley), who playa part. 

3.4 2 

Caþitalist Productio1Z. 

exceHence, all tlle qualities requisite for production, and ex- 
pends them in the most economical manner, by exclusively 
employing all his organs, consisting of particular labourers, or 
groups of labourers, in performing their special functions. 1 
The one-sïdedness and the deficiencies of the detail labourer 
become perfections when he is a part of the collective labourer.' 
The habit of doing only one thing converts him into a never 
failing instrument, while his connexion with the whole me- 
chanism compels him to work with the regularity of the parts 
of a machine. a 
Since the collective labourer has functions, both simple and 
complex, both high and low, his members, the individual 
labour-po\vers, require different degrees of training, and must 
therefore have different values. :Manufacture, therefore, de- 
velopes a hierarchy of labour-powers, to which there corres- 
})onds a scale of wages. If, on the one band, the individual 
labourers are appropriated and annexed for life by a limited 
function; on the other hand, the various operations of the 
hierarchy are parcelled out among the labourers according to 
both their natural and their acquired capabilities! Every 
process of production, however, requires certain simple manip- 
1 "The master manufacturer, by dividing the work to be executed into different 
proceS5es, each requiring different degrees of skill or of force, can purchase exactly 
that precise quantity of both which is necessary for each process; whereas, if the 
whole work were executed by one workman, that person must possess sufficient skill 
to perform the most difficult, and sufficient strength to execute the most laborious of 
tùe o!>aratlons into which the article is divided." (Ch. Babbage. 1. c., ch. xviii.) 

 For instance, abnormal development of some muscles, curvature of bones, &c. 
S The question put by one of the Inquiry Commissioners, How the young persons 
are kept steadily to their work, is very correctly answered by l\Ir. W m. 1tlarshall, the 
general manager of a. manufactory: "They cannot well neglect their work ; 
when they once begin, they must go on; they are ju
t the same as parts of a. 
machine." ("Children's Emp!. Comm.," 4th Rep., 1865, p. 247.) 
4 Dr. Ure, in his apotheosis of Modern l\Iechanical Industry, brings out the peculiar 
character of manufacture more sharply than previous economists, who had not his pole- 
mical interest in the matter, and more sharply even than his contemporariel!-Babbage, 
e.g., who, though much his superior as a mathematician and mechanician, treated me- 
chanical industry from the standpoint of manufacture alone. Dre says, "This appro- 
priation . . . to each, a workman of appropriate value and cost was naturallvassigned, 
forms ,he very essence of division of labour." On the other hand, he describes this 
division as "adaptation of labour to the different talents of men," and lastly, charac- 
terises the whole manufacturing system as "a system for the division or gradation of 
labour," as "the division of labour into degrees of skill," &c. (Ure, 1. c. pp, 19-23 

Divi'sz'01t of Labour and AIanufactulc. 343 

ulations, which every n1an is capable of doing. They too 
are now severed from their connexion with the more preg- 
nant moments of activity, and ossified into exclusive func- 
tions of specially appointed labourers. lIenee, 
Ianu facture 
begets, in every handicraft that it seizes upon, a class of 80- 
called unskilled labourers, a class which handicraft industry 
strictly excluded. If it deveJopes a one-sided speciality into a 
perfection, at the expense of the whole of a man's working 
capacity, it also begins to make a speciaJity of the absence of 
:111 development. Alongsiùe of the hierarchic gradation there 
steps the simple separation of the labourers into skilled and 
unskilled. For the latter, the cost of apprenticeship vanishes; 
for the former, it diminishes, compareel with that of artificers, 
in consequence of the functions being simplified. In both 
cases the value of Jabour-power falls. 1 An exception to this 
law holds good whenever the decomposition of the labour- 
process beget
 new and comprehensive functions, that either 
had no place at all, or only a very modest one, in handicrafts. 
The fall in the value of labour-power, caused by the disap- 
pearance or diminution of the expenses of apprenticeship, im- 
plies a direct increase of surplus-value for the benefit of 
capital; for everything that shortens the necessary labour- 
tilHe required for the reproduction of labour-power, extends the 
domain of surplus-labour. 


We first considered the origin of 
ianufacture, then its 
simple elements, then the detail labourer and his implelnents, 
and finally, the totality of the mechanism. We shall now 
lightly touch upon the relation between the division of labour 
in manufacture, and the social division of labour, which forms 
the foundation of all production of commodities. 
If we keep labour alone in view, we may designate the 
separation of social production into its main divisions or 
genera-viz., agriculture, industries, &c., as division of labour 
1 U Each handicraftsman being. . . enabled to perfect himself by practice in one 
point, became. . . a. cheaper workman." (Dre, 1. c., p. 19.) 


Caþitalist Productzon. 

in general, and the splitting up of these familics into species 
and sub-species, as division of labour in particular, and the 
division of labour within the ,vorkshop as division of labour in 
singular or in detail. l 
Division of labour in a society, and the corresponding tying 
down of individuals to a particular calling, developes itself, 
just as does the division of labour in n1anufacture, ii'om opposite 
starting points. vVithin a family,! and after further develop- 
l11ent within a tribe, there springs up naturally a division of 
labour, caused by differences of sex and age, a division that is 
consequently based on a purely physiological foundation, which 
division enlarges its materials by the expansion of the com- 
munity, by the increase of population, and Illore especially, by 
the conflicts between different tribes, and the subjugation of 
one tribe by another. On the other hand, as I have before 
remarked, the exchange of products springs up at tho points 
,vhere different falnilies, tribes, communities, corne in contact; 
for, in the beginning of civilisatioD, it is not private indi- 
viduals but families, tribes, &c., that meet on an independent 
footing. Different communities find different means of pro- 
duction, and different Ineans of subsistence in their natural en- 
vironment. Hence, their modes of production, and of living, 
and their products are different. It is this spontaneously de- 
veloped difference ,vhich, when different communitics come in 
contact, calls forth the mutual exchange of products, and the 
1 "Division of labour proceeds from the separation of professions the most widely 
different to that division, where several labourers divide between them the preparation 
of one and the same product, as in manufacture." (Storch:" Cours d'Econ. Pol. 
Paris Elln." t. 1., p. 173.) "Nous rencontrons chez les peuples parvenus à un certain 
degré de civilisation trois genres de divisions d'industrip.: 10. première, que nous 
nommerons générale, amène la distinction des producteurs en agriculteurs, manu. 
facturiers et commerçans, elle se rapporte aux trois principales branches d'industrie 
nationale; 10. seconde, qu'on pourralt appeler spéciale, est la division de chaque genre 
d'industrie en espèces. . . . 10. troisième division d'industrie, celle en fin qu'on devrait 
qualifier de division de la besogne ou de travail proprement dit, est celIe qui s'établit 
dans lee arts et les métiers séparcs. . . . qui s'établit dans la plupart des manufactures 
et des ateliers." (Skarbek. 1. c. pp. 84, 85.) 
2 Note to the third edition. Subsequent very searching study of the primitive 
condition of man, led the author to the conclusion, that it was not the family that 
originally developed into the tribe, but that, on the contrary, the tribe was the primi- 
tive and spontaneously developed form of human association, on the basis of blood 
relationship, and that out of the first incipient loosening of the tribal bonds, the 
many and various forms of the family wpre aftcrward
 developed. (Ed. 3rd ed.) 

Divisio1t- of Labour a1td .Jlallufacture. 345 

-consequent graùual conversion of those products into com- 
modities. Exchange does not create the differences between 
the spheres of production, but brings what are already different 
into relation, and thus converts them into more or less inter- 
dependent branches of the collective production of an enlarged 
society. In the latter case, the social division of labour arises 
from the exchange bet,veen spheres of production, that are 
originally distinct and independent of one another. In the 
fortner, ,vhere the physiological division of labour is the starting 
point, the particular organs of a compact whole grow loose, 
anù break off; principally owing to the exchange of commodi- 
ties \vith foreign communities, and then isolate themselves so 
far, that the sole bond, still connecting the various kinds of 
,vork, is the exchange of the products as commodities. In the 
one case, it is the making dependent what was before inde- 
pendent; in the other case, the making independent ,vhat was 
before dependent. 
The foundation of every division of labour that is well de- 
veloped, and brought about by the exchange of comIIlodities, is 
the separation between town and country.1 It nlay be said, 
that the \vhole economical history of society is summed up in 
the movement of this antithesis. We it over, however, 
for the present. 
Just as a certain number of simultaneously employed 
labourers are the material pre-requisites for division of labour 
in manufacture, so are the number and density of the popula- 
tion, ,vhich here correspond to the agglomeration in one 
workshop, a necessary condition for the division of labour 
in society.2 Nevertheless, this density is more or less relative. 

1 Sir James Steuart is the economist who has handled this subject best. How 
little his book, which appeared ten years before the cc'Vealth of Nations," is known, 
even at the present time, may be judged from the fact that the admirers of Malthus 
do not even know that the first edition of the latter's work on population contains, 
except in the purt:'ly dec1amatory part, very little but extracts from Steuart, and in 
a less degree, from 'Vallace and Townsend. 
2 "There is a certain density of population which is convenient, both for social 
intercourse, and for that combination of powers by which the produce of labour is 
increaseù. " (James :Mill, 1. c. p. 50.) " As the number of labourers increases, the 
productive power of society augments in the compound ratio of that increase, multi
l)lied by the effects of the ùivision of labour." (Th. Iloùgskin, 1. c. pp. 125, 126.) 

34 6 

Caþitalist P'rodztctio1Z. 

A relatively thinly populated country, with well-developed 
means of communication, has a denser population than a more 
numerously populated country, with badly-developed means of 
communication; and in this sense the Northern States of the 
American Union, for instance, are more thickly populated than 
India. l 
Since the production and the circulation of commodities are 
the general pre-requisites of the capitalist mode of production, 
division of labour in manufacture demands, that division of 
labour in society at large should previously have attained 
a certain degree of development. Inversely, the former 
division reacts upon and developes and multiplies the 
latter. Simultaneously, with the differentiation of the in- 
struments of labour, the industries that produce these in- 
struments, become more and more differentiated. s If the 
manufacturing system seize upon an industry, which, pre- 
viously, was carried on in connexion with others, eit11er as a. 
chief or as a subordinate industry, and by one producer, these 
industries immediately separate their connexion, and become 
independent. If it seize upon a particular stage in the pro- 
duction of a commodity, the other stages of its production 
'become converted into so many independent industries. It 
has already been st.ated, that where the finished article con- 
sists merely of a number of parts fitted together, the detail 
operations may re-establish themselves as genuine and sep- 
arate handicrafts. In order to carry out more perfectly the 
division of labour in manufacture, a single branch of pro- 
duction is, according to the varieties of its raw material, or the 
various forms that one and the same raw material may assume
split up into numerous, and to some extent, entirely new 
manufactures. Accordingly, in France alone, in the fir::;t half 
of the 18th century, over 100 different kinds of silk stuffs 

1 In consequence of the great demand for cotton after 1861, the production of 
cotton, in some thickly populated districts of India, was extended at the expense of 
rice cultivation. In consequence there arose local famins, the defective means of 
communication not permitting the failure of rice in one district to be compensated 
by importation from another. 
S Thus, the fabrication of shuttles formed, as early as the 17th century, a special 
branch of industry in Holland. 

Division of Labou'r a11d lrIa11'1ifactu1"e. 347 

were \voven, and in Avignon, it was la,v, that (( every appren- 
tice should devote himself to only one sort of fabrication, and 
should not learn the preparation of several kinds of stuff at 
once." The territorial division of labour, which confines 
.special branches of production to special districts of a country, 
acquires fresh stimulus froID the manufacturing systeu1, ,vhich 
exploits every special advantage. 1 The Colonial system and 
the opening out of the markets of the world, both of which 
are included in the general conditions of existence of the 
manufacturing period, furnish rich material for developing 
the division of labour in society. It is not the place, llere, to go 
on to show how division of labour seizes upon, not only the 
economical, but every other sphere of society, and every,vhere 
lays the foundation of that aU engrossing system of specialis- 
ing and sorting men, that development in a man of one single 
faculty at the expense of all other faculties, which caused A. 
- Ferguson, the D1aster of Adam Smith, to exc1aim: "'V e make 
a nation of Helots, and bave no free citizens."2 
But, in spite of the Dumberous analogi
s and links connecting 
them, division of labour in the interior of a society, and that 
in the interior of a workshop, differ not only in degree, but 
also in kind. The analogy appears most indisputable where 
there is an invisible bond uniting the various branches of 
trade. For instance the cattle breeder produces hides, the 
tanner makes the hides into leather, and the shoelnaker, the 
leather into boots. Here the thing produced by each of them 
is but a step towards the final form, which is the product of 
an their labours combined. There are, besides, all the various 
industries that supply the cattle-breeder, the tanner, and the 
shoemaker ,vith the means of production. Now it is quite 
possible to imagine, with Adam Smith, that the difference be- 
tween the above social division of labour, and the division in 

1 "'Whether the wool1en manufacture of England is not divided into several parts 
or branches appropriated to particula.r places, where they are only or principally 
manufactured; fine cloths in Somersetshire, coarse in Yorkshire, long ens at Exeter, 
Boics at Sudbury, crapes at Norwich, 1inseys at Kendal, blankets at 'W"hitney, and 
so forth. " (Berkeley:" The Querist," 1750, p. 520.) 
2 .A. Ferguson: "History of Civil Society." Edinburgh, 1767 j Part iv. seet. ii.t 
p. 2Sr;. 

34 8 

Caþitalist P1

manufacture, is merely subjective, exists merely for the 
observer, who, in a manufacture, can see with one glance, all 
the nUluerous operations being performed on one spot, while 
in the instance given above, the spreading out of the work 
over great areas, and the gl eat number of people employed in 
each branch of labour, obscure the connexion. 1 But what is 
it that forms the bond between the independent labours of 
the cattle-breeder, the tanner, and the shoemaker 1 It is the 
fact that their respective products are commodities. vVhat, on 
the other hand, characterises division of labour in manufactures 1 
The fact that the detail labourer produces no commodities. 2 
It, is only the common product of all the detail labourers that 
becomes a commodity}' Division of labour in a society is 
brought about by the purchase and sale of the products of 
different branches of industry, \vhile the connexion between 

1 In manufacture proper, he says, the division of labour appears to be greater, 
because "those employed in every different branch of the work can often be col- 
lected into the same workhouse, and placed at once under the view of the spectator. 
In those great manufactures, (!) on the contrary, which are destined to supply the 
great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work 
employs 80 great a number of workmen, that it is impossible to collect them all into 
the same workhouse . . . the division is not near so obvious." (A. Smith: "'V ealth 
of Nations," bk. i. ch. i.) The celebrated passage in the same chapter that begins with 
the words, "Observe the accommodation of the most common artificer or day labourer 
in a civilized and thriving country, " &c., and then proceeds to depict what an enormous 
number and variety of industries contribute to the satisfaction of the wants of an 
ordinary labourer, is copied almost word for word from B. de Mandeville's Hemarks 
to his" Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Pub1ick Benefits." (First ed., without 
the remarks, 1706; with the remarks, 1714.) 
2" There is no longer anything which we can call the natural reward of individual 
labour. Each labourer produces only some part of a whole, and each part, having no 
value or utility in itself, there is nothing on which the labourer can seize, and say: 
I t is my product, this I will keep to myself." ( " Labour Defended against the Claims 
of Capita!." Lond.,1825, p. 25.) The author of this admirable work is the Th. 
Hodgskin I have already cited. 
BThis distinction between division of labour in society and in manufacture, was 
practically illustrated to the Yankees. One of the new taxes devised at 'Vashington 
during the civil war, was the duty of 6 0 /0 "on all industrial products." Question: 
What is an industrial product? Answer of the legislature: A thing is produced 
" when it is made," and it is made when it is ready for sale. Now, for one example 
out of many. The New York and Philadelphia manufacturers had previously been 
in the habit of "making" umbrellas, with all their belongings. But since an 
umbrella is a mixtum compositum of very heterogeneous parts, by degrees these 
parts became the proòucts of various separate industries, carried on independently 
in different places. They entered as separate commodities into the umbrella man- 
1&factory, where they were fitted together. The Yankees have given to articles thus 

DivisioJl of Labour alltlllIauzifacture. 3-1-9 

the detail operations in a \\yorkshop, are due to the sale of the 
labour-po\ver of several workmen to one capitalist, ,vho applies 
it as combined labour-power. The division of labour in tbe 
,vorkshop ilnplies concentration of the means of production in 
the hands of one capitalist; the division of labour in society 
implics their dispersion alTIOng many independent producers of 
couunodities. 'Vhile within the \vorkshop, the iron law of 
proportionality subjects definite nunlbers of worknlen to de- 
finite functions, in the society outside tbe \vorkshop, chance and 
caprice have full play in di
tributing the producers and their 
means of production among the various branches of industry. 
Tbe different spheres of production, it is true, constantly tend 
to an equilibriulll: for, on the one hand, while each producer 
of a conllnodity is hound to produce a use-value, to satisfy a 
particular social want, and \\yhile the extent of these ,vants 
differs quantitatively, still there exists an inner relation which 
settles their proportions into a regular systeln, and that system 
one of spontaneous growth; and, on the other hand, the la\v of 
the value of commodities ultilnately determines how much of 
its disposable working-time society can expend on each par- 
ticular class of commodities. But this constant tendency to 
equiJibriuln, of the various spheres of production, is exercised, 
only in the shape of a reaction against the constant upset- 
 of this equilibrium. The a pJ
iori system on \vhich the 
division of labour, within the workshop, is regularly carried 
out, becomes in the division of labour within the society, an a 
posteriori, nature-imposed necessity, controlling the la\vless 
caprice of the producers, and perceptible in the barometrical 
fluctuations of the market prices. Division of labour \vithi11. 
the workshop implies the undisputed authority of the capital- 
ist over men, that are but parts of a mechani
m that belongs 
to him. The division of labour \vithin the society brings into 
contact independent commodity-producers, who acknowledgo 
no other authority but that of competition, of the coercion 
exerted by the pressure of their mutual interests; just as in the 

fitted together, the name of "assembled articles," a name they deserve, for being 
an assemblage of taxes. Thus the umbrella "assembles," first, 6 Q /o on the price of 
each of its elements, and a further 60/:;, on its own total price. 


Caþztalzst ProductiolZ. 

anilnal kingdom, the bellum omnium contra Olnnes more or less 
preserves the conditions of existence of every species. The 
same bourgeois mind which praises division of labour in the 
workshop, life-long annexation of the labourer to a partial 
operation, and his complete subjection to capital, as being an 
organisation of labour that increases its productiveness-that 
same bourgeois mind denounces with equal vigour every con- 
scious attempt to socially control and regulate the process of 
production, as an inroad upon such sacred things as the Ilghtd 
of property, freedom and unrestricted play for the bent of 
the individual capitalist. It is very characteristic that the 
enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing 
more damning to urge against a general organization of the 
labour of society, than that it would turn all society into 011e 
immense factory. 
If, in a society \vith capitalist production, anarchy in the 
social division of labour and despotism in that of the workshop 
are mutual conditions the one of the other, we find, on the con- 
trary, in those earlier forms of society in which the separation 
of trades has been spontaneously developed, then crystallized, 
and finally made permanent by law, on the one hand, a speci- 
men of the organisation of the labour of society, in accordance 
\vith an approved and authoritative plan, and on the other, 
the entire exclusion of division of labour in the workshop, 
or at all events a mere dwarf-like or sporadic and accidental 
development of the same. 1 
Those small and extremely ancient Indian communities, some 
of which have continued down to this day, are based on posses- 
sion in common of the land, on the blending of agriculture and 
handicrafts, and on an unalterable division of labour, which 
serves, whenever a new community is started, as a plan and 
scheme ready cut and dried. Occupying areas of from 100 up 
to several thousand acres, each forms a compact ,vhole pro- 
ducing all it repuires. The chief part of the products is 

1 " On peut . . étahlir en règle générale, que moins l'autoritê préside à Is. division 
du travail dans l'intérieur de la société, plus Is. division du travail so développe dans 
l'intérieur de l'atelier, et plus eUe y est soumise à l'autorité d'un seuI. Ainsi 
J'autol'Ïté dans l'atelier et celie dans la socièté, par rapport à la. division du travail, 
80nt en raison inverse l'une de l'autre." (Karl :Marx, "lrIisère," &c.) pp. 130-131.) 

Division of Labour a1zd lIfa1Zufacture. 35 I 
destined for direct use by the community itself, and does not 
take the form of a commodity. Hence, production here is 
independent of that division of labour brought about, in Indian 
society as a whole, by means of the exchange of commodities. 
It is the surplus alone that becomes a commodity, and a portion 
of even that, not until it has reached the hands of the State, 
into whose hands from time immemorial a certain quantity of 
these products has found its way in the shape of rent in kind. 
The constitution of these communities varies in different parts 
of India. In tho
e of the simplest form, the land is tilled in 
common, and the produce divided among the Inembers. At 
the same time, spinning and weaving are carried on in each 
family as subsidiary industries. Side by side with the masses 
thus occupied \vith one and the same work, we find the (t chief 
inhabitant," who is judge, police, and tax-gatherer in one; the 
book-keeper \vho keeps the accounts of the tillage and registers 
everything relating thereto; another official, who prosecutes 
.criminals, protects strangers travelling through, and escorts 
them to the next village; the boundary man, who guards the 
boundaries against neighbouring cornmunities; the \vater.. 
overseer, who distributes the water from the common tanks 
for irrigation; the Brahmin, who conducts the religious 
services; the schoolmaster, who on the sand teaches the 
children reading and writing; the calendar-Brahmin, or astro- 
loger, who makes known the lucky or unlucky llays for seed- 
time and harvest, and for every other kind of agricultural 
,vork; a smith and a carpenter, \vho make and repair all the 
agricultural implements; the potter, who makes all the pottery 
of the village; the barber, the washerman, who \vashes clothes, 
the silversmith, here and there the poet, who in some com- 
munities replaces the silversmith, in others the schoolmaster. 
This dozen of individuals is maintained at the expense of the 
"\vhole community. If the population increases, a new com- 
munity is founded, on the pattern of the old one, on unoccupied 
land. The whole mechanisln ùiscloses a systematic division of 
labour; but a division like that in manufactures is impossible, 
since the smith and the carpenter, &c., find an unchanging 
market, and at the most there occur, according to the sizes of 

35 2 

Caþitalzst Producti01t. 

the villages, two or three of each, instead of one. 1 'rhe law 
that regulates the division of labour in the community acts 
with the irresistible authority of a law of Nature, at the same 
time that each individual artificer, the smith, the carpenter, 
and so on, conducts in his workshop all the operations of his 
handicraft in the traditional w'ay, but independently, and 
without recognizing any authority over him. The simplicity 
of the organisation for production in these self-sufficing com- 
munities that constantly reproduce themselves in the same 
form, and when accidentally destroyed, spring up again on the 
spot and with the same name '-this simplicity supplies the 
key to the secret of the unchangeableness of Asiatic societies,. 
an unchangeableness in such striking contrast with the con- 
stant dissolution and refounding of Asiatic States, and the 
never-ceasing changes of dynasty. The structure of the 
economical elements of society remains untouched by the. 
storm-clouds of the political sky. 
The rules of the guilds, as I have said before, by limiting 
most strictly the number of apprentices and journeymen that a 
single master could employ, prevented hin1 from becoming a 
capitalist. Moreover, he could not employ his journe:ymen in 
any other handicraft than the one in which he was a master. 
The guilds zealously repelled every encroachment by the capital 
of merchants, the only form of free capital with which they 
came in contact. A merchant could buy every kind of com- 
modity, but labour as a commodity he could not buy. He 
'!xisted only on sufferance, as a dealer in the products of the 
handicrafts. If circumstances called for a further division of 
labour, the existing guilds split themselves up into varieties, or 
1 Lieut.-Col. !Iark Wilks: "Historical Sketches of the South of India." Lond., 
U!10-17, v. I., pp. 118-20. A good description of the various forms of the Indian 
communities is to be found in George Campbell's" :Modern India." Lond., 1852. 
t "Under this simple form . . . the inhabitants of the country have lived from 
time immemorial. The boundaries of the villages have been but scldom altered; and 
though the villages themselves have been sometimes injured, and even desolated by 
war, famine, and disease. the same name, the same limits, the same interests, and 
even the same families, have continued for ages. The inhabitants give themselves 
no trouble about the breaking up and division of kingdoms; while the village remains 
entire, they care not to what power it is transferred, or to what sovereign it devolves; 
its internal economy remains unchanged." (Th. Stamford Raffles, late Lieut. Gov. 
of Java: "The History of Java." Lond., 1817, Vol. I., p. 285.) 

Dz'visiOJl oj Labour aUtl M an ujaclztre. 

., 5 ,., 
" ..) 

founded new guilds by the side of the old ones; all this, how- 
ever, "..ithout concentrating various handicrafts in a single 
workshop. Hence, the guild organization, however much it 
may have contributed by separating, isolating, and perfecting 
the handicrafts, to create the material conditions for the exist- 
ence of manufacture, excluded division of labour in the 
,vorkshop. On the whole, the labourer and his means of pro- 
duction remained closely united, like the snail ,vith its shell, 
and thus there was wanting the principal basis of manufacture, 
the separation of the labourer from his means of production, 
and the conversion of these means into capital. 
\Vhile division of labour in society at large, whether such 
division be brought about or not by exchange of commodities, 
is comlnon to economical formations of society the most diverse, 
division of labour in the workshop, as practised by manufacture, 
is a special creation of the capitalL
t mode of production 


An increased number of labourers under the control of one 
capitaHst is the natura] starting-point, as well of co-operation 
generally, as of manufacture in particular. But the division of 
labour in manufacture n1akes this increase in the num her of 
workmen a technical necessity. The minimum number that 
any given capitalist is bound to employ is here prescribed by 
the previously established division of labour. On the other 
hand, the advantages of further division are obtainable only 
by adding to the number of workmen, and this can be done 
only by adding multiples of the various detail groups. But 
an increase in the variable component of the capital ernployed 
necessitates an increase in its constant component, too, in the 
workshops, implements, &c., and, in particular, in the ra \v 
material, the call for which grows quicker than the number of 
workmen. The quantity of it consumed in a given time, by a 
given amount of labour, increases in the same ratio as does the 
productivo power of that labour in consequence of its division. 
Hence, it is a law, based on the very nature of manufacture. 


Caþi/alzst Productz'on. 

that the minimum amount of capital, which is bound to be in 
thß hands of each capitalist, 
ust keep increasing; in other 
,v( ,rds, that the transformation into capital of the social means 
of production and subsistence must keep extending. l 
In n1anufacture, as well as in simple co-operation, the collec- 
tive ,vorking organism is a form of existence of capital. The 
mechanism that is made up of numerous individual detail 
labourers bßlongs to the capitalist. Hence, the productive 
power resulting from a combination of labours appears to be 
the productive power of capital. Manufacture proper not only 
subjects the previously independent workman to the discipline 
and command of capital, but, in addition, creates a hierarchic 
gradation of the workmen themselves. While simple co-opera- 
tion leaves the mode of working by the individual for the most 
part unchanged, manufacture thoroughly revolutionises it, and 
seizes labour-power by its very roots. It converts the labourer 
into a crippled monstrosity, by forcing his detail dexterity 
at the expense of a world of productive capabilities and in- 
stincts; just as in the States of La Plata they butcher a whole 
beast for the sake of his hide or his tallow. Not only is the 
detail work distributed to the different individuals, but the in- 
dividual himself is made the automatic motor of a fractional 
operation,2 and the absurd fable of 
lenenius Agrippa, which 
makes man a mere fragment of his own body, becomes 
realised. 8 If, at first, the workman sells his labour-power to 
capital, because the material means of producing a commodity 
1 "It is not sufficient that the capital" (the writer should have said the necessary 
means of subsistence and of production) U required for the sub-division of handi- 
crafts should be in readiness in the l!Iociety: it mmt also be accumulated in the hands 
of the employers in sufficiently large quantities to enable them to conduct their 
operations on a large scale. . . . The more the division increases, the more does the 
constant employment of a given number of labourers require a greater outlay of capital 
in tools, raw material, kc." (Storch: Cours d'Econ. Polito Paris Ed., t. I., pp.250, 
251.) "La concentration des instruments de production ct 10. division du travail sont 
aussi inséparables rune de l'8outre que Ie Bont, dans Ie régime politique, 10. concentra- 
tion des pouvoirs Imblics et 180 division des intérêts privés." (Karl Marx. 1. c., 
p. 134.) 
J Dugald Stewart calla manufacturing labourers "living8outomatonl . . . employed 
in the details of the work." (1. c., p. 318.) 
3 In corals, each individual is, in fact, the stomach of the whole group; but it sup- 
})lies the group with nourishment, instead of, like the Roman patrician, withdraw. 
ing it. 

Divisi01t of Labour a1zd III allufacture. 355 

fail him, now his very labour-power refuses its services unlesø 
it has been sold to capital. Its functions can be exercised 
only in an environment that exists in the workshop of the 
capitalist after the sale. By nature unfitted to make anything 
independently, the manufacturing labourer developes produc- 
tive activity as a mere appendage of the capitalist's workshop.1 
As the chosen people bore in their features the sign manual of 
Jehovah. so division of labour brands the manufacturing work- 
man as the property of capital. 
The knowledge, the judgment. and the win, which, though 
in ever so small a degree, are practised by the independent 
peasant or handicraftsman, in the same way as the savage 
makes the whole art of war consist in the exercise of his per- 
sonal cunning-these faculties are now required only for the 
workshop as a whole. Intelligence in production expands in 
one direction, because it vanishes in nlany others. What is 
lost by the detail labourers, is concentrated in the capital that 
employs them. 2 It is a result of tlae division of labour in 
Inanufactures, that the labourer is brought face to face with 
the intellectual potencies of the material process of production, 
as the property of another, and as a ruling power. This sepa- 
ration begins in simple co-operation, \vhere the capitalist re- 
presents to the single workman, the oneness and the will of 
the associated labour. It is developed in manufacture which 
cuts down the labourer into a detail labourer. It is com- 
pleted in modern industry, which makes science a productive 
force distinct from labour and presses it into the service of 
1 "L'ouvrier qui porte dans ses bras tout un métier, peut aller partout exercer son 
industrie et trouver des moyens de Bubsister: l'autre (the manufacturing labourer) 
n'est qu'un accessoire qui, séparé de ses confrères, n'a plus ni capacitê, ni indépend- 
anee, et qui se trouve forcé d'accepter Ia. loi qu'on juge à propos de lui imposer." 
(Storch. 1. c. Petersb. edit., 1815, t. I., p. 204.) 
2 A. Ferguson, 1. c., p. 281: "The former may have gained what the other has 
a "The man of knowledge and the productive labourer come to be widely divided 
from each other, and knowledge, instead of remaining the handmaid of labour in the 
hand of the labourer to increase his productive powers. . . has almost everywhere 
arrayed itself against labour. . . . systematically deluding and leading them (tbe 
labourers) astray in order to render their muscular powers entirely mechanical and 
obedient." (W. Thompson: " An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of 
,V calth. London, 1824, " p. 274.) 

35 6 

Caþitalist ProductioJt. 

In manufacture, in order to make the collective labourer,. 
and through hira capital, rich in social productive power, each 
labourer mus t be made poor in individual productive powers. 
"Ignorance iil:J the mother of indw
try as well as of superstition. 
Reflection and fancy are subje
t to err; but a habit of moving 
the hand or the foot is indeì'endent of either. Manufactures, 
accordingly, prosper most where the mind is least consulted, 
and where the workshop may. . . be considered as an engine y 
the parts of which are men." 1 As a matter of fact, some- 
few manufacturers in the middle of the 18th century preferred, 
for certain operations that were trade secrets, to employ half- 
idiotic per
(C The unde.rstandings of the greater pal.t of Inen/' says Adam 
Smith, cc are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. 
The man whose whole life is spent in performillg a few simple 
operations . . . has no occasion to exert his understanding. 
. . . . He generallý becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is 
possible for a human creature to become." After describing 
the stupidity of the detail labourer he goes on: "The uni- 
formity of his stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of 
his mind. . . . . It corrupts even the activity of his body and 
renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and 
perseverance in any other employments than that to which 
he has been bred. His dexterity at his own particular trade- 
seems in this manner to be acquired at the expense of his in- 
tellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved 
and civilised society, this is the state into which the labouring- 
poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily' 
fall'" For preventing the complete deterioration of the great. 

1 A. Ferguson, 1. c., p. 280. 
t J. D. TuckeU: U A History of the Past and Present State of the Labouring Popu- 
lation." Lond., 1846. 
3 A. Smith: Wealth of Nations, Bk. V., ch. I., art. II. Being a pupil of A Fer- 
guson who showed the disadvantageous effects of division of labour, Adam Smith 
we-s perfectly clear on this point. In the introduction to his work, where he ex pro- 
Jesso praises division of labour, he indicates only in a. cursory manner that it is the: 
source of social inequalities. It is not till the 5th Book, on the Revenue of the State',. 
that he reproduces Ferguson. In my U Misère de la Philosophie," I have sufficiently. 
explained the historical connection between Ferguson, A. Smith, Lemontey, and Say... 
aii rega.rðs their criticisms of Division of Labour, and have shown, for the first time... 

Divisz'OlZ of LaboU1 and i1Ial/'ufactul'e. 357 
s of the people by division of labour, A. Smith recolnrnends 
education of the people by the State, but prudently, and in 
hOlllæopathic doses. G. Garnier, his French translator and 
comment.ator, ,vho, under the first French Empire, quite natu- f 
rally developed into a senator, quite- as naturally opposes him 
on this point. Education of the masses, be urges, violates the 
first law of the division of labour, and ,vith it (( our whole 
social system would be proscribed." " Like all other divisions 
of labour," he says, "that between hand labour and head 
labour 1 is Inore pronounced and decided in proportion as society 
(be rightly uses this ,vord, for capital, landed property and 
their State) becomes richer. This division of labour, like every 
other, is an effect of past, and a cause of future progress. . . . 
ought the government then to work in opposition to this 
division of labour, and to hinder its natural course 1 Ought it 
to expend a part of the public money in the attempt to con- 
found and blend together two classes of labour, which are 

triving after division and separation 1" t 
Some crippling of body and mind is inseparable even from 
division of labour in society as a 'v hole. Since, however, manu- 
facture carries this social separation of branches of labour Inuch 
further, and also, by its peculiar di vision, attacks the individual 
at the very roots of his life, it is the first to afford the materials 
for, and to give a start to, industrial pathology.8 
" To subdivide a man is to execute him, if he deserves the 
that Division of Labour as practised in manufactures, is a specific form of the capi- 
talist mode of production. 
1 Ferguson had already said, 1. c. p. 281: "And thinking itself, in this age of 
separa tions, may become a peculiar craft." 

 G. Garnier, vol. V. of his translation of A. Smith, pp. 4-5. 
8 Ramazzini, professor of practical medicine at Padua, IJub1ished in 1713 his work 
-II De morbis artificum," which was translated into :Frcnch 1781, reprinted 1841 in the 
" Encyclopédie des Sciences :Médicales. 7 me Dis. Auteurs Classiques." The period 
of l\lodern Mechanical Industry has, of course, very much enlarged his catalogue 
of labour's diseases. See" Hygiène physique et morale de l'ouvricr dans les grandes 
villes en général et dans 180 ville de Lyon en particulier. Par Ie Dr. A. L. Fonterel, 
Paris, 1858," and "Die Krankheiten, welche verschiednen Ständen, Altern und 
Geschlechtern eigenthÜ1nlich sind. 6 Vols. Ulm, 1860," and others. In 1854 the 
Society of Arts appointed a Commission of Inquiry into industrial pathology. The 
list of documents collected by this commission is to be seen in the catalogue of the 
"Twickenham Economic Museum." Very impørtant are the officia.l "Reports on 
blic Health." See also Eduard Reich, M.D. "Ueber die Entartung des Men- 
Echen," Erlangen, 1868. 

35 8 

CaPitalz'st Production. 

sentence, to assassinate him if he does not. The sub- 
di vision of labour is the assassination of a people.''} 
Co-operation based on division of labour, in other worùs, 
manufacture, commences as a spontaneous formation. So soon 
as it attains some consistence and extension, it becomes the re- 
cognised n1ethodical and systematic form of capitalist produc- 
tion. History sho,vs how the division of labour peculiar to 
manufacture, strictly so called, acquires the best adapted form 
at first by experience, as it ,vere behind the backs of the actors
and then, like the guild handicrafts, strives to hold fast that 
form when once found, and here and there succeeds in keeping- 
it for centuries. ÂI1yalteration in this form, except in trivial. 
matters, is solely owing to a revolution in the instruments of 
labour. Modern manufacture wherever it arises-I do not here 
allude to modern industry based on machinery-either finds 
the disjecta membra poetæ ready to hand, and only waiting to 
be collected together, as is the case in the manufacture of 
clothes in large towns, or it can easily apply the principle of 
division, simply by exclusively assigning the various operations 
of a handicraft (such as bookbinding) to particular men. In 
such cases, a week's experience is enough to determine the pro- 
portion between the numbers of the }}ands necessary for the 
various functions. 2 
By decomposition of handicrafts, by specialisation of the in- 
struments of labour, by the formation of detail labourers, and 
by grouping and combining the latter into a single mechanism
division of labour in manufacture creates a qualitative grada- 
tioD, and a quantitative proportion in the social process of 
production; it consequently creates a definite organisation of 
the labour of society, and thereby developes at the same time 

1 (D. Urquha.rt : Familiar Words. Lond., 1855, p. 119.) Hegel held very heretical 
views on division of labour. In his Rechtsphilosophie he says: "By well educated 
men we understand in the first instance, those who can do everything that otherfJ 
do. " 
2 The simple belief in the inventive genius exercised a priori by the individual 
capitalist in division of labour, exists now.a-days only among German professors, of 
the stamp of Herr R08ch
r, who, to recompense the capitalist from whose Jovian 
head division of labour ready formed, dedicates to him "yariou8 wage
(diverse Arbeitslöhne). The more or less extensive application of division of lahour 
depends on length of purse, not on greatness of genius. 

Division of Labour and fifallzifacture. 359 

new productive forces in the society. In its specific capitalist 
form-and under the given conditions, it could take no other 
form than a capitalistic one-manufacture is but a particular 
method of begetting relative surplus-value, or of augmenting 
at the expense of the labourer the self-expansion of capital- 
usually called social wealth, " Wealth of Nations," &c. It in.. 
creases the social productive power of labour, not only for the 
benefit of the capitalist instead of for that of the labourer, but 
it does this by crippling the individual labourers. It creates 
new conditions for the lordship of capital over labour. If, 
therefore, on the one hand, it presents itself historically as a 
progress and as a necessary pha
e in the economic develop- 
ment of society, on the other hand it is a refined and ci vilised 
method of exploitation. 
Political economy, which as an independent science, first 
sprang into being during the period of manufacture, views 
the social division of labour only from the standpoint of 
Dlanufacture,t and sees in it only the means of producing more 
commodities with a given quantity of labour, and, conse- 
quently, of cheapening commodities and hurrying on the 
accumulation of capital In most striking contrast with tl1is 
accentuation of quantity and exchange-value, is the attitude 
of the writers of classical antiquity, who hold exclusively by 
quality and use..value.' In consequence of the separation of 
the social branches of production, commodities are better 
made, the various bent.s and talents of men select a suitable 

1 The older writers, like Petty and the anonymous author of "Advantages of the 
East India. Trade," 'bring out the capitalist cha.racter of division of labour as applied 
in manufacture more than A. Smith does. 
2 Amongst the moderns may be excepted a. few writerø of the 18th century, like 
Beccaria and James Hßrris, who with regard to division of labour almost entirely 
follow the ancient!. Thus, Beccaria: U Ciascuno proTa coIl' esperienza., che applicando 
180 mano e l'ingegno sempre allo stesso genere di opere e dt produtte, egli più facili, 
più abbondanti e migIiori ne Iisultati, di quello che Ie ciascuno isolatamente Ie 
eose tutte a se necessarie soltanto facesse. . . . Dividendosi in tal maniera per 181 
comune e priva.ta. utilità gIi uomini in varie classi e condizioni." (Cesare Beccaria: 
U Elementi di Econ. Pubblica," ed. Custodi, Parte Moderna, t. xi., p. 28. ) James 
llarriø, a.fterwards Ear] of Malmesbury, celebra.ted for the" Diaries" of his embassy 
at St. Petersburg, says in a note to hiø "Dialogue Concerning Happiness," Lond., 
11-11, reprinted afterwa.rdø in " Three Treatises, &c., 3 Ed., Lond., 1772 :" "The whole 
argument to prove society natural (-i.e., by division of employments) . . . is takeÐ 
from the second book of Plato's Republic." 

3 6 0 

Caþzïalzst Production. 

field,! and without some restraint no important results can be 
obtained anywhere. 2 Hence both product and producer are 
improved by division of labour. If the growth of the quantity 
produced is occasionally mentioned, this is only done with 
reference to the greater abundance of use-values. There is not 
a word alluding to exchange-value or to the cheapening of 
commodities. This aspect, from the standpoint of use-value 
alone, is taken as well by Plato: who treats division of laùour 
as the foundation on which the division of society into classes 
is based, as by Xenophon,4 \vho with characteristic bourgeois 

1 Thus, in the Odyssey xiv., 228, "ltAAÀtlS 'Jtàp 'l"lJ.).,Atlu,,, å.
;'p ì<;f"'l'EP'8'I'l'IU lp)'''
and Archilochus in Sextus Empiricus, U /J.ÀÀ"f lJ.À).ff ì<;f" lp)'

'8'íO''l'a'l'tI {p)'a., "a,,;; 'ð'
<;f'í'Ta.'l''' w-<<1I'l'a.'. Every Athenian considered him- 
self superior as 0. producer of commodities to 0. Spartan; for the latter in time of 
war had men enouglJ. ëtt 
is d.iE.posal but could not command money, as Thucydides 
makes Pericles say in the speech inciting the Athenians to the Peloponnesian war: 
" tltJfta.rr; 7' btl.ftÓ'l'fPD' Dl a.lrrDfJp)'ol T
1I a.1IdptfJ'8'fA111 -J} JCpÝJftatT. <;f'OAff'.Eîv:' (Thuc: 1. I. c. 
41.) Nevertheless, even with regard to material production, a.ÜTap,,!fa., as opposed 
to division of labour remained their ideal, "'iTa.p. ;, 'Y
p '1'ø Iii, ff'a.pà. '1'''Ú'1'fA111 xal '1'ø 
." It should be mentioned here that at the date of the faU of the 30 Tyrants 
there were still not 5000 Athenians without landed property. 
3 With Plato, division of labour within the community is a development from the 
multifarious requirements, and the limited capacities of individuals. The main point 
with him is, that the labourer must adapt himself to the work, not the work to the 
labourer; which latter is unavoidable, if he carries on several trades at once, thus 
making one or the other of them subordinate. " Ou 'Yàp idáÀu If"ø 
", 'l';'
'l'tlf tI%o).,,,, 'iTfP'IL!."
' å:A.À. ,zvá)'"" TØ
 <;f'påTT",'l'tX. T
IÞ'f E<;f'(X"OÀDfJØÚI/ ft" 
is. ff'Up{P'ì'tlV ftíplI.-' A"")'"".-'E,, 
" 'l'tl6.TfA1
 'iTÀ.'fiII n 
"a.tT'l'a. )'l)'I/I'l'l%' "al"áÀ.À.'o" "a1 
pq.01l, ðTa., .1, l1l "a.Tà (þ6rr'
 "al 111 "a'p
 tT%oÀ.nll T;
 1l.À.).fA111 4)'fiII
 w-pá.'l''T''/' (Rep.!. 2. Ed. 
Baiter, Orelli, &c). So in Thucydides 1. c. c., 42: "Seafaring is a-' art like any 
other, and cannot, as circumstances require, be carried on as a subsidiary occupation j 
nay, other subsidiary occupations cannot be carried on alongside of this one." If the 
work, says Plato, has to wait for the labourer, the critical point in the process iø 
missed and the article spoiled, fp)'1I1J "(x'P;
 dlóÀÀura.I." The same Platonic idea is 
found recurring in the protest of the English bleachers against the clause in the 
Factory Act that provides fixed meal times for all operative9. Their business cannot 
wait the convenience of the workmen, for" in the various operations of singeing, 
washing, bleaching, mangling. calendering, and dyeing, none of them can b
at a given moment without risk of damage. . . . to enforce the same dinner hour 
for all the work-people might occasionally subject valuable goods to the risk of danger 
by incomplete operations." Le platonisme où va-t-il se nicher ! 
4 Xenophon says, it is not only an honour to receive food from thet
ble of the King 
of Persia, but such food i
 much more tasty than ot